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2nd Windham property eyed for NYC’s Streamside Acquisition Program

May 14, 2018 11:07 pm

WINDHAM — Another streamside property is moving through the city Department of Environmental Protection’s pilot program to buy and preserve land close to waterways that feed New York City’s water supply.

The Streamside Acquisition Program, managed by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development in Arkville and funded by the city Department of Environmental Protection, is considering its second Windham property — 2 acres near Blodgett Road and county Route 10, owned by Joseph Camanzo, according to the Windham Town Board meeting agenda.

Through the program, the Catskill Center works with willing property owners to buy streamside lands at fair market value or subdivide the land. The acquired land is owned by the DEP, which protects it with a conservation easement through the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Camanzo, the property owner, is listed with a Long Island address, according to property tax records. The 2-acre plot is tentatively assessed at $22,000 this year.

DEP bought its first Streamside Acquisition property on Mill Street in Windham, department officials announced in April.

The five-year pilot program aims to preserve environmentally sensitive land that buffers Catskill streams, creeks and rivers, and in flood plains and wetlands that feed the city’s reservoir system.

The DEP manages New York City’s water supply, bringing more than 1 billion gallons to about 9.5 million residents daily, to city dwellers and 70 communities in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties.

The water course running through the Blodgett Road property is a temporary water course, which means water runs after a storm or snowmelt, but not year-round, Councilman Stephen Tucker said.

The Streamside Acquisition Program was conceived by watershed counties with the goal of limiting the DEP’s land purchase to smaller plots adjacent to streams, DEP Public Affairs Director Adam Bosch said earlier this month.

The DEP is required to fund the program under terms of a state permit that allows the department to operate its Catskill-Delaware water supply system without filtration.

Board members advanced the Blodgett Road property acquisition request to the Windham Planning Board, which is scheduled to meet Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter if we approve or disapprove,” Windham Town Supervisor Robert Pelham said Monday. “It’s just a formality. It comes to us and we pass it along to the planning board with stipulations that the property is issued for traditional uses.”

Pelham remains concerned about the DEP’s land acquisition programs.

“It would take developable property,” he said, adding the money would be better spent directly on reducing stream turbidity.

“They’re buying it so no one else does and builds a house, to preserve the open space and protect their water supply,” Pelham said.

The DEP will need town board approval to buy property within the village parameters, Pelham said, adding he worked to extend the borders to be able to decline more land acquisition requests.