Mapping Our Resources to Protect Rural Character
Remember those big maps that were hanging in the library for awhile? They show all the woods, meadows, swamps, wetlands, and other important habitats in our town. They were made by Hudsonia, Ltd., a not-for-profit institute that specializes in providing the science other organizations and individuals need for decision-making.
The maps were intended to help guide our planning board's decisions towards protecting the beauty and natural resources of our community. (For instance if the maps show that land is largely wet and sensitive, or home to many important plants and animals, the planning board could ask a homebuilder to pick the least harmful site on his property to build.)
Unfortunately these maps are now rolled up in the Town Hall, out of public view. As for the Planning Board, the editorial, "Hudsonia Maps Biodiversity Mapping Project" written almost 4 years ago, was too hopeful - the current planning board is adamantly opposed to putting the maps where they and the public can consult them easily at every planning board meeting (listen to the two audios!).
Town of Washington Planning Board Expresses Concerns About Hudsonia
August 07, 2007
The Option, But Not The ObligationAt it's August 7, 2007 meeting, the Town of Washington Planning Board continued to express its concerns about possible loss of autonomy. At a prior meeting it was the affect of the Greenway Compact guidelines, and now it's the role of the Hudsonia Study and Maps in the review process.
Chairman Tom Beaumont used such terms as "nothing concrete" and "subject to abuse" when referring to the SIGNIFICANT HABITATS IN THE TOWN OF WASHINGTON 1. study and the supporting 2004 maps done by Hudsonia 2..
Hudsonia Maps Biodiversity Mapping Project
January 30, 2004
In 2001 Hudsonia began its biodiversity mapping project — the mapping of significant habitats in five Dutchess County towns. The purpose of the project, according to Hudsonia’s Gretchen Stevens, was “to put good information in the hands of local decision-makers.”
The Town of Washington was mapped in 2003 and 2004. Yet not once in the past three years that members of Millbrook Matters have been attending meetings has any member of the Town of Washington Planning Board referred to these maps, or the manuals which accompany them, for guidance in judging the merits or demerits of an application.
The Tribute Garden put up $50,000 per town for Hudsonia’s five-town mapping project and the Dyson Foundation another $30,000 per town.