ANCRAM—Jamie Purinton, who has served as founding chair of the town’s Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) since its inception in 2010, gave her final year-end round-up at the January 19 Town Board meeting.
Ms. Purinton will remain on the CAC and continue her noteworthy environmental work, but has stepped aside as chair after two long-time CAC members David Dembo and Jane Meigs agreed to co-chair the council beginning this year.
Among the council’s achievements and activities for the past year Ms. Purinton noted in her report, Erin Robertson and Colleen Lutz provided monthly updates on Planning Board (PB) activities and sought CAC advice on environmental issues.
CAC provided reviews for the Fulton and Forbes/Bottle Tree Site (recommending need for better stream protection), the Iron Star development and Velazquez property. For Iron Star, the CAC provided two substantial reviews including a comprehensive response to the environmental assessment form (EAF) answering in detail 18 questions regarding potential environmental impacts.
“Given the time and effort we have put into these reviews, we hope in the future that the Planning Board will be more responsive in terms of discussing and considering CAC’s written reviews in their public meetings.”
Ms. Purinton noted some important progress with regard to the CAC’s October 12, 2021 memo to the PB and Town Board (TB) calling for more substantive environmental reviews of applications, more rigorous discussions around protecting the environment to “the maximum extent possible” and better adherence to due process. The CAC credits Planning Board Clerk “Jayelle Hoffman for improving communication between the CAC and PB and carefully considering our recommendations. She has attended multiple CAC meetings and met with us at the Town Hall.” The CAC is optimistic about how regular reviews of applications by professional planners and engineers will ensure that the PB adheres closely to the zoning laws in environmental reviews.
CAC member Ms. Lutz continues to update the Natural Resource map overlays so they are easily accessed by the PB and other committees and town agencies.
The CAC recommended to the PB and TB, better building and zoning enforcement in terms of both reviewing applications and enforcing permitted applications. The report gave an example of a PB approved application and Storm Water Protection Plan (SWPP) not being followed. The CAC recommended that escrows and provision for engineering services be included for all future permits when SWPPs and environmental regulations are involved.
A Watershed Characterization Plan was begun in September for the Punch Brook and Roe Jan Kill thanks to Ms. Lutz. Participation includes numerous CAC members, as well as members from Gallatin, Taghkanic and Copake. The plan will be completed at the end of 2023.
The Roe Jan Watershed Association (RJWA) continued with water sampling at two locations in Ancram on Wiltsie Bridge by Herondale Farm and the new bridge on Hall Hill.
In all there are 14 sampling sites from Hillsdale to Germantown along the Roe Jan. The results are posted on the Bard College Water Lab site and the RJWA website, www.roejanwatershed.org/2021/11/30/roe-jan-2021-sampling-results/.
CAC prepared an educational memo on what Ancram residents can do to conserve water use and improve resilience to drought. The group also supported aquifer protection and an initiative to do a water well study in the Ancram hamlet.
CAC followed the good work of the Climate Smart Community Task Force and reviewed and supported recommendations regarding climate resilient projects for Ancram.
The CAC worked with other county CACs to distribute the brochure on how to more sensitively build a house to area builders, contractors and realtors.
In the spring, the CAC started helping amphibians with their annual road crossing migrations to breeding grounds under the guidance of a Department of Environmental Conservation program. The group hopes to build public participation in 2023. The CAC reported to DEC the number and type of species making crossings during the spring months as well as the number of deaths. The program helps save species and educates the public on the importance of wildlife corridors and habitat connectivity.
The complete 2022 CAC activity and achievement report as well as the group’s plans for 2023 may be found on the town website (www.ancramny.org) on the CAC page.
Incoming CAC Co-chair Meigs spoke about Ms. Purinton’s long list of accomplishments, such as work on the Comprehensive Plan, National Resources Conservation Plan and biodiversity habitat maps. She noted Ms. Purinton’s generosity with her landscaping, research and writing talents “to protect Ancram’s rich and varied natural resources to promote long-term resiliency, public health and well being.”
She said because of Ms. Purinton’s leadership, Ancram is known countywide as having an exemplary CAC.
She said, “Jamie did it all” and “it’s going to take two of us to do the job Jamie did so well.” Ms. Meigs presented Ms. Purinton with a pottery baking dish bearing the Tree of Life, as a gift from the town.
Town Councilperson Amy Gold presented a resolution of appreciation for Ms. Purinton. The resolution says in part: that the board “recognizes and appreciates the valuable contributions that Jamie Purinton has made to the Town of Ancram over the 12 years of her public service as chair of the Ancram Conservation Advisory Council. The Ancram Town Board thanks Jamie for her commitment to the Ancram Community, wishes her continued success in all her future activities and looks forward to her continued participation in Town and Community activities.”
Later in the meeting, resolutions of appreciation were also approved for John Ingram who made valuable contributions to the Town of Ancram over the 12 years of his public service as member of, and for 9 years as chair of, the Ancram Planning Board. Joseph Crocco will take over Mr. Ingram’s seat as PB chair and Erin Robertson as vice chair.
Suzan Flamm, who recently won election to her first term as Ancram Town Justice, was recognized for her contributions to the town during the 6 years of her public service as chair of the Ancram Climate Smart Community Task Force. Ancram recently achieved Bronze level status thanks to the work of the task force. Joe Brown and Colleen Lutz now co-chair the task force.
Jim Stickle, who retired from the PB, was recognized for his contributions during 16 years of his public service as a member of the Ancram Planning Board and his commitment to the Ancram community.
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