Friends of the Mahicantuck Save 1011

Contact the City of Troy NOW

ACTION 1: KEEP THE PRESSURE UP! CONTACT THE CITY!

RIGHT NOW: The most important thing is to keep the pressure with the city!

SEND AN EMAIL NOW (opens draft email in your email browser)

STEPS:

  1. Use the text below to send it to the City of Troy (or click here – opens draft email in your email browser)
  2. Add your name/edit the information as indicated in the text.
  3. Send the emails to Mayor Patrick Madden, City Council President Carmella Mantello, the entire City Council and the Planning Commission.
Contact Information
Mayor Patrick Madden
Tel: (518) 279 – 7130

E-Mail: Patrick.Madden@troyny.gov

Council President Carmella Mantello
Tel: (518) 281 – 6582

E-Mail: Carmella.Mantello@troyny.gov

City Council

E-Mail: citycouncil@troyny.gov

Planning Commissioner Steven Strichman

Tel: (518) 279 – 7392

E-Mail: Steven.Strichman@troyny.gov

Planning Commission
Tel: (518) 279 – 7392

E-Mail: James.Rath@troyny.gov


TEMPLATE FOR LETTER:

TO: Patrick.Madden@troyny.gov; Carmella.Mantello@troyny.gov; citycouncil@troyny.gov; Steven.Strichman@troyny.gov; James.Rath@troyny.gov;

BCC (optional): FriendsOfTheMahicantuck@gmail.com

SUBJECT: PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE SACRED SITE AT 1011 2nd AVE

Dear

Mayor Patrick Madden, City Council President Carmella Mantello, Members of the Troy City Council, Planning Commissioner Steven Strichman, and Members of the Planning Commission

My name is [insert name]. I live in the  [insert city/town/village].

I am writing to you to oppose the requested zoning change for 1011 2nd Avenue (Tax Parcel 70.64-1-1).

The “Sacred Forest” at 1011 2nd Avenue is the city’s last untouched forest along the Hudson River as well as a nationally significant (National Register eligible) indigenous heritage site with artifacts dating back to 1500-3000 B.C. The indigenous peoples maintain ties to this land that grew over 5000 years. For them, this is sacred land. It is unique for its history and cultural heritage.

The “Sacred Forest” is also unique for its ecology.  There are several county-rare plant species present on this land, some of which are habitat indicators that make the presence of globally rare species likely (the scrub oak as an indicator for the globally rare buck moth, for example).

As the last natural forest of its kind it provides critical ecosystem services to a community located in a DEC designated “Potential Environmental Justice Area” (requiring amongst other a full EAF as part of SEQRA, as established in DEC CP 29 — Section E). Its destruction would be an incredible loss for us all. The loss of critical ecosystem services would disproportionately harm the local community of the Potential Environmental Justice Area.

Changing the zoning to accommodate a known project prior to the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process is segmentation ( Kirk-Astor Drive Neighborhood Ass’n. v. Town Board of Town of Pittsford, 106 A.D.2d 868, 869, 483 N.Y.S.2d 526, 528 (4th Dep’t 1984)).

A zoning change should be included as a consideration in the project’s Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) if it moves forward with its environmental review. Additionally, a change in the zoning to allow a different use than what is stated in the 2018 “Realize Troy” Comprehensive Plan would require an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, and should be indicated as a “discretionary action” alongside the rezoning in the full EAF.

During three public hearings the public provided more than eight hours of testimony in opposition to the rezoning, alongside numerous written submissions, expert testimonies and reports. The public is united in its opposition to approve the rezoning of this property to make way for a 240 unit housing development.

As public officials it is your responsibility to listen to your constituents.  Considering our  clear position across party lines alongside the historical, archeological, cultural and ecological significance of this sacred  land, and its being  located in a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) “Potential Environmental Justice Area”, the planning commission and the city must make the protection and preservation of this land its highest priority.

Considering the issues of segmentation, inconsistencies with the comprehensive plan and process requirements established in SEQR, the Planning Commission must recommend against rezoning at this time for all of the reasons stated.

[Optional: Personal paragraph of relationship to the land and why you think it is important that this land is protected]

Thank you.

[Name]

[City/Town/Village]

[Date]

Finding Rare Species at 1011

This past week, following a snow storm that dropped nearly 3ft of snow on the Capital Region, The Friends of the Mahicantuck met up with Systems Ecologist Dr. David Hunt and former archeologist and local historian extraordinaire Don Rittner at 1011 to explore the ecology of the land. Dr. Hunt has done extensive work in the past in this area – extending up to Pleasantdale, and had advised us before meeting, of unique ecosystems here. Sure enough, despite the deep snow – Dr. Hunt found about 17 rare Scrub Oak plants strewn along the property – indicating that there could be more buried under snow along with rare regional specific flora of this Rocky Summit Pitch Pine community. Additionally, Scrub Oak is a habitat indicator of the globally rare Buck Moth which could be nesting on this site as well. He also found Dogbane and Shadbush during out walk, stating that in the Spring and Summer more research should be done on the site to better catalog the rare species that call this land home. 

Exploring 1011 in deep snow with Systems Ecologist Dr.David Hunt and his son.
Dr.Hunt examining some Prairie Grasses at the highest point on 1011. He also found additional species and samples closer to the waters edge along the shale cliffside.
The newly frozen Hudson River from the highest point at 1011
Historian Don Rittner joined us as well and shared many stories of this land and of Lansingburgh during our visit.

As we descended from the highest point on the property that offers a beautiful view of the currently frozen Hudson River, down closer to the waters edge, Don and Dr.Hunt discovered a small rock outcrop poking out from the snow along the shoreline. This rock is Chert – the material that the Indigenous people that lived on and used this land, utilized in the creation of arrowheads.  As we walk and learn more about the land’s history – the discovery of settlements and Indigenous burial sites discovered just a few hundred feet away on this side of the river and additional settlements across the river – we can’t help but think that the land at 1011 served as more than just a factory for arrowheads. The topography of the land, the proximity to other sites nearby, its access to the Hudson and nearby Mohawk River and it’s lookout point suggests that this area served a larger purpose for it’s Indigenous stewards. 

Dr.Hunt and Don examining the Chert found along the waters edge.
Areas around these root systems were covered in animals tracks. We believe we spotted several fox dens here along the waters edge.
A close up of the Scrub Oak that Dr. Hunt found in several locations on 1011
Entering the forest at 1011 - the snow was quite deep 🙂

Despite the deep snow blanketing 1011, the land revealed to us some of her many secrets.  We can only imagine what else we can learn once the Spring arrives and the plants return to their Summer glory. We do know – given the discoveries we made this week – that more extensive identification and cataloging of this unique ecosystem needs to be done and that to destroy it with a rezoning, that would allow for it to be built upon and decimated, would lend to an unrecoverable loss for this neighborhood, for the environment and for future generations to discover, explore and learn from. The land at 1011 can provide year round opportunities for exploration, education and and mind/body connections to our natural resources. Please help us #Save1011 for our community now, and for generations to come.