Skaneateles: Open Space Committee submits action plan

A plan for Skaneateles' Open Space Committee has been submitted to the town board for review and approval.

Former councilor and committee member Dave Laxton presented the board with some background on Feb. 4 about what the committee is designed to do. According to Laxton, the committee has met for several years and has many ideas, but to bring them all together, town planner Howard Brodsky was brought into the fold about a year ago.

Brodsky said the way the Open Space Committee works is property owners donate the development rights to their land to the committee while retaining use and ownership. The owner, however, must promise not to develop the land, making the property "protected from future development," Brodsky said.

A document was created to include a brief background of the committee and action the board can take, and reveals the town's preferred areas for the program. The entire town is eligible regardless of preference.

The document also includes policy and objectives for how the committee's funding is spent. For example, funds would cover the cost of such things as land surveys and attorney fees.

Additionally, if someone were to choose to proceed with a project on land that has been donated, they may be required or asked to give funds.

Brodsky included a sample evaluation form for the town board, which is simply a systematic way of comparing properties and a way to make sure the same questions are being asked of everyone interested in donating open space.

The board did not approve the document as the councilors would like more time to review it. Supervisor Terri Roney said she would like to have the information presented referred to the planning and zoning boards.

"It wouldn't hurt for others to look at it," she said.

The board plans to discuss the matter further at its first meeting in March.

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