Open Letter to the Town and Village of Saugerties Comprehensive Planning Committee Attention all Saugerties residents:
Beware of the document called the Comprehensive Plan. This document is being promoted and headed for approval by the Town Board. This document invites exploitation of the Saugerties residents by claiming to have the right to grant authority to unnamed special interests groups. It is both implied and stated that those special interest groups will be not-for-profit agencies, and non-governmental officials which are comprised of unelected members. They will be making policy decisions which will be enforced as if law or code. These policymakers will not be answerable to the general public. The process makes government more removed from its citizens who are the legitimate stake holders and more removed from the will of the common citizen. This practice runs in contradiction to our democracy and the republic of the United States of America.
The content of the document is extremely disturbing with many internal inconsistencies and with many opportunities for selective enforcement. Additionally, this document is dangerously vague and uses terms such as “support,” “enforce,” “encourage,” “guide,” “ ensure,’ “work with,” “establish,” “identify,” “examine,” “explore,” “designate,” “ make efforts” “require,” “ promote,” “appropriate,” etc. A thorough review of document called the Comprehensive Plan is not possible, not only due to the vagueness of the language used but also because of the references to other organizations, other plans, commissions, companies as well as practices which are not delineated in this plan and whose mission or activities are not available online nor on the town’s website.
Also noteworthy in this review process is the defensiveness displayed by the committee members and its board liaison on March 12 when questioned about the author of this plan. At the Nov. 15 public hearing I directly asked the committee about the cost and payment of this plan and was promptly told by the hired planner that the cost of this plan was $30,000 of which $20,000 was paid by the Hudson River Greenway. It is no secret that the Greenway has an agenda that is against private property ownership and private property is the economic basis of the creation of the town and village of Saugerties. The cost given at this latest public hearing was inconsistent with the amount stated at the previous hearing. The committee members, consisting of all volunteers with the exception of their planning consultant, Shuster Associates with Planit Main St. Inc., insist that they authored this plan but one can only wonder why Shuster Associates, is being paid $30,000, if indeed the committee members did the work on writing this document which they are promoting as a plan. By using simple math it appears that $10,000 came from the Saugerties tax payers, according to the information provided to the public on Nov. 15. Also, of special interest is that Dan Shuster of Shuster Associates who advises our Town’s Planning Board, is also a supporting sponsor of RUPCO. We did not elect the organization which put forth this plan or the non-governmental organization which financed it (the Greenway.)
The document seeks to micromanage and indoctrinate attitudes, beliefs and activities of the Saugerties residents which are not part of their heritage of individualism, self-reliance, creativity, and flourishing as human beings. It seeks to create a dependency on the larger community which is not in keeping with the Saugerties tradition. This document advocates a collective approach and totally ignores the individual’s needs and capabilities. The document is not a valid plan because it does not identify or consider the costs to the community. It does not include the increased cost to the tax-paying residents; it does not include the cost in terms of loss of private property rights and the economic impact on current businesses in Saugerties including economic loss, and the loss of revenue by deterring businesses that may be considering relocating to Saugerties. The fundamental assumption of climate change, one of this document’s underlying tenets, is unsettled science and the premise of global warming is already being abandoned by scientists and replaced with evidence that the earth is getting cooler yet it is used as an underlying justification for this document.
On page two it states its purpose is “to guide market forces” and “provides a legal basis for specific land use regulations and other government functions.” It does not define “other government functions” this document will be used to justify. It also states that “the private sector responds to opportunities that government creates…” In other words this document is really about economic and market control but the author(s) uses environmentalism as the justification for its creation. Citizens at the public hearing have stated that this document promotes communism. A web search revealed the definition of communist as “A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people. Additionally the plan emphasizes collectivism at the expense of the individual.”
Saugertiesians, this so-called plan is being used to quietly usher communism into Saugerties under the guise of “caring for the environment.” Unless this plan is fought by the local residents it is very likely to go into effect and control our activities and seriously escalate attacks on our private property rights.
The writer is a candidate for the Saugerties Town Board