Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Along the Empire State Trail

Here in Hudson, the trailhead for the Empire State Trail is almost complete. The signage has been installed, and the native limestone benches are in place.

But north of here, two miles of the trail are still the subject of controversy. Gossips received the following information about the issue:
Stockport town supervisor Matt Murell and the town board are opposing the construction of two miles of the [Empire State Trail] along the electric utility's property in the town, which Niagara Mohawk has licensed to the Greenway Conservancy. This two-mile contested stretch sits at the north end of town--from Keil Lane to Rossman Road. Also, three residents have sued the Greenway Conservancy objecting to the constructon of the bikeway adjacent to their residential property. (Note that the utility's ownership is full--"fee simple" in property law, rather than a mere permissive easement.) . . .
At the direction of the Stockport Town Board, the town's Code Enforcement Officer recently sent a Notice to the Greenway Conservancy, stating that construction of the Trail is subject to the Town's zoning code, and that the Greenway Conservancy is prohibited from building any portion of the Trail in Stockport unless and until it is approved by the Stockport Town Planning Board. Note that it appears Stockport it the only town in the entire state that is attempting to assert the legislatively authorized Empire Trail is subject to the town's zoning code.
As plans for the Trail exist for Stockport, the bike route will share Route 25 adjacent to the Stockport Creek for 1.4 miles, which is far from ideal due to twists and turns and limited visibility. If the Town is successful in its opposition to the northern end of the trail in Stockport, that would remove 2.0 miles of off-road trail along the Kinderhook Creek and add 2.3 miles to the trail on Route 25 with high speed traffic and no shoulders. Forcing the bike trail to share Route 25 for 3.7 miles would effectively deprive the largest concentration of Stockport residents of nearby access to an off-road scenic bike-riding trail near their homes.
A public hearing on this issue is being held on Thursday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m., at the Stockport Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, 128 County Road 25. The notice of the public hearing can be found here. Everyone interested in showing support for the bike trail through Stockport is urged to attend.

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