A historic coalition from across the Adirondack and Catskill Parks and New York state, encourages New Yorkers to Vote Yes on Proposal 3 on Election Day on November 7, 2017

October 20, 2017

Historic Coalition Says Vote Yes on Proposal 3

Proposal 3 amends Article 14 of the NYS Constitution to create new 250-acre Health and Safety Land Account for maintenance and safety of local roads and to expand public utilities, such as broadband, to rural communities of the Adirondacks and Catskills

A historic coalition of local governments, business organizations, and environmental groups from across the Adirondack Park, Catskill Park, and New York state have joined forces to urge New Yorkers to “Vote Yes” on Proposal 3 on the ballot on Election Day, November 7, 2017.

The coalition is urging downstate and upstate voters to Vote Yes on Proposal 3. This is a historic and diverse coalition that represents a broad array of interests. Proposal 3 seeks to amend Article 14, the famed “forever wild” provision, of the New York State Constitution, to create a 250-acre “Health and Safety Land Account” to assist local governments in the Adirondacks and Catskills for maintenance and safety of local roads and to expand public utilities, such as broadband, to rural communities of the Adirondacks and Catskills

Proposal 3 amends Article 14 of the NYS Constitution to create 250-acre Health and Safety Land Account for maintenance and safety of local roads and to expand public utilities, such as broadband, to rural communities of the Adirondacks and Catskills. Proposal 3 was passed twice by the NYS Legislature, in 2016 and again this past June, 2017. As a constitutional amendment, it must now be approved by the voters.

If passed, Proposal 3 will allow communities in the Adirondacks and Catskills to draw on the 250-acre land account in order to make critically needed upgrades to hazardous local highways and bridges as well as utilities along those roads which abut the “forever wild,” publicly-owned Forest Preserve. Residents and visitors to the Parks will benefit greatly from these safety upgrades.

Without this amendment, each separate upgrade, even those involving a fraction of an acre, that might touch on the “forever wild” Forest Preserve would need to go through its own constitutional amendment process, a multi-year, costly and very uncertain procedure.

In addition, if Proposal 3 passes, the siting of wells for municipal water supplies within 500 feet of a highway corridor, creation of bike baths within a highway corridor, and locating or expanding of utilities, such as broadband, within state and local highway corridors that come up against the Forest Preserve, and the burial of utilities on especially scenic sections of road can also be accomplished without the need for separate constitutional amendments.

Legislation that spells out the process for State authorization and implementation of the Health and Safety Land Account and other features in Proposal 3 was passed by the Legislature in 2017. It ensures that use of the health and safety land account will only be used if absolutely necessary to accomplish the objective, and only if all environmental laws, best practices and other safeguards, including very minimal cutting of trees, are observed.

Protect the Adirondacks supports Proposal 3.

“Proposal 3 streamlines the complex process for local communities in the Adirondacks and Catskills to undertake needed upgrades to roads, bridges, and public water systems in or near highways. It will help with expanding broadband and deliver municipal services as well as protect the Forest Preserve and upholds the forever wild clause in the State Constitution,” said Peter Bauer, executive director, Protect the Adirondacks.

The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board supports Proposal 3.

“The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board enthusiastically supports Proposal 3 on the November 7th general election ballot. This common-sense constitutional amendment will allow a total of 250 acres of the 2,900,000 acres of forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks and Catskills to be used for necessary municipal highway and bridge projects and public utility projects within widths of roads that cross the forest preserve, where there is no viable alternative. There will be no net loss of forest preserve land because 250 other acres will be acquired as replacement for the acreage authorized to be used by the amendment,” said Fred Monroe, Executive Director, Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.

The Association of Towns supports Proposal 3.

“Voting yes to Proposition No. 3 will enhance the lives of people who live, work and visit the Adirondacks and Catskill Mountains by improving access to the Internet, clean drinking water and safer roads while preserving the beauty and ecology of New York’s forests,” said Gerry Geist, Executive Director, Association of Towns.

The Adirondack Mountain Club supports Proposal 3.

“The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is very proud to support proposal 3 on the ballot on Election Day 2017. This constitutional amendment allows communities in the Adirondacks and Catskills to use a small 250 acre land bank or the maintained widths of highway rights of way to address highway safety and public utility needs, including broadband on the very edge of the Forest Preserve where it adjoins public highways rights of way and where there is no viable alternative,” said Neil F. Woodworth, Executive Director and Counsel, Adirondack Mountain Club.

The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development supports Proposal 3.

Proposal 3 on the ballot strikes the right balance in supporting our Catskill and Adirondack Park communities, while continuing to ensure the protection of the Forest Preserve. This constitutional amendment will allow communities in the Catskills and Adirondacks to utilize a land bank to address highway safety and public utility needs through a defined and straightforward process, that reduces time and expense for the communities, while maintaining Forest Preserve protections. The amendment also allows within developed highway rights of way, broadband expansion. This is vitally important in the Catskills, where many communities are currently underserved by broadband and its extension would create economic development opportunities for our communities,” said Jeff Senterman, Executive Director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development.

The Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages supports Proposal 3.

“The Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages fully supports the Health and Safety Land Bank Amendment. This constitutional amendment will maintain Article XIV protections of Catskill and Adirondack forest preserve lands while providing for important infrastructure improvements for these communities in critical need of public utilities and broadband expansion as well as roadway safety measures. We urge all New Yorkers to “Vote Yes’ on Proposition #3 on November 7th.” said Matthew J. Simpson, Vice-President, Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages.

The Adirondack Landowners’s Association supports Proposal 3.

“The Health and Safety Land Bank Amendment will provide critically needed alternatives for dealing with the legal obstacles impacting potential improvements to roadways, utilities, recreational and broadband infrastructure in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The Adirondack Landowners Association is pleased to be able to support this innovative legislation and we offer our thanks to all those who have helped to make it possible. We encourage all New Yorkers to show their support for this and vote Yes…for Proposal #3 on November 7th,” said Tom Williams, President, Adirondack Landowners Association.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve supports Proposal 3.

“This is a narrowly defined but compelling amendment benefiting important public purposes of health, safety and enhanced public utilities along local highway. We strongly endorse it and encourage a ‘yes’ vote on Nov. 7th,” said David Gibson, Senior Partner, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

The Nature Conservancy in New York supports Proposal 3.

“New York’s Adirondack and Catskill Parks succeed best when both the natural and human communities in the parks thrive. Lawmakers and diverse groups worked together over many years to ensure Proposal 3 would protect our cherished forest preserves and create a sustainable process for the communities within the parks to address critical needs without the expense and uncertainty of amending the state constitution. By voting yes on Prop 3, New York voters have the chance to make government more efficient, uphold important protections for our natural resources, and create greater security for New York communities,” said Stuart F. Gruskin, chief conservation and external affairs officer, The Nature Conservancy in New York.

The Adirondack Council supports Proposal 3.

“The Adirondack Council is proud of our role in developing Proposal 3 to assist communities without compromising the integrity of the ‘forever wild’ clause, the greatest forest conservation law in the world,” said Adirondack Council spokesman John F. Sheehan. “The Council has established the Committee to Defend Forever Wild in support of Proposal 3, and to oppose Proposal 1, the proposed constitutional convention. Proposal 3 shows we can safely amend the constitution without running the risks of a constitutional convention.”

The Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors supports Proposal 3.

“This Amendment brought together a great coalition from the onset. The Adirondacks and Catskills are two of New York’s great treasures, so there are a huge number of supporters and stakeholders. This Amendment is critical for our communities! On behalf of the people of Hamilton County I have navigated the Amendment process multiple times, so I am keenly aware of what a common sense solution this is to long standing problems. I encourage all the people of the State of New York to support this critical Amendment. This is good policy for New York State, and good policy for all the people who care deeply about the Adirondacks and Catskills,” said William G. Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors

The President of the North County Chamber of Commerce supports Proposal 3.

“This proposition has the broadest possible support because it is simply common sense and good policy from all perspectives. It provides a process to accommodate small public projects in Adirondack and Catskill communities without the cost and long timeline for a separate constitutional amendment each time small needs arise, which have no controversy. This will help to sustain basic, quality services which will in turn help to sustain the communities and environment of the Adirondacks,” said Garry Douglas, President, North Country Chamber of Commerce; Co-Chair, North Country Regional Economic Development Council.
The Conservation Fund Advisory Board supports Proposal 3.

“The Conservation Fund Advisory Board endorses this common sense approach, to dealing with the real life issues faced by many rural communities in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The sportsmen and women of New York are frequent travelers in these areas and they, along with other New Yorkers, will benefit from expanded broadband coverage and highway safety improvements. We ask that all members of the sporting and outdoor communities in New York vote yes for Proposal #3 on Nov. 7th,” said Jason Kemper, Chairman, of the NYS Conservation Fund Advisory Board.

The New York State Conservation Council supports Proposal 3.

“The New York State Conservation Council would like to join with the local towns and governmental agencies along with the state Assembly and Senate representatives of the Adirondacks and Catskills in expressing our support for the passage of Proposal #3 this November. It offers more workable opportunities for local government in the Adirondacks and the Catskills to serve their constituents and it will not adversely affect the surrounding environment,” said Chuck Parker President New York State Conservation Council.

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