Sugar Loaf. Rallying support for Chester to preserve open space

| 02 Jun 2021 | 04:33

Chester Town Councilman opened the rally last Friday evening, May 21, at Knapp’s View, the open space parcel formerly known as Broadview at the foot of Sugar Loaf Mountain along Kings Highway in Sugar Loaf, by praising the passage of Chester’s purchase of development rights (PDR).

He said the community has waited too long for passage and needed to rally together to make it happen.

State Sen. James Scoufis, Planning Board Chairman Don Sorotta, Supervisor Robert Valentine, Preservation Collective’s Tracy Schuh, Assemblyman Colin Schmidt, Chester Councilman Tom Becker and Preserve Chester’s Steven Keahon all echoed the same sentiments.

Chester Councilman Tony Ardisana and his wife and Orlando Perez and his wife were also among those cheering for passage of state legislation to enable Chester to raise money for the purchases of land or the development rights to land through a tax on property sales.

Neighboring Warwick has an active purchase of development rights program. Goshen’s once-active program bought up the rights to several farms before falling into disuse.

The Chester land preservation bill had handily passed the state Senate and Assembly but was stopped at the governor’s desk in late 2019.

The latest legislation is supported by state Skoufis and Schmidt as evidenced by their presence at the rally.

- Frances Ruth Harris