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September 21, 2014
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Political representation in the Town of Delaware

Liam Murphy

The board should rescind its June resolution and institute a process that will allow the full range of issues that are relevant to the health, safety and welfare of the community to be studied. State and federal agencies continue to investigate the obvious environmental concerns. What this town urgently needs is a serious study of the economic impact of gas mining on our community.
It is often said that mining will bring jobs and prosperity to the area. But it is far from clear that this is true. It seems more likely that a very small number of people would benefit from gas mining; many others would be adversely affected through increased taxes and reduced property values, and very few long-terms jobs for local people would be created. Momentous decisions concerning the future of our town should not be based on hunches and wishful thinking.

Two members of the town board have expressed reservations about the process leading up to the June resolution. And the town supervisor, in indicating his support for a commission to look into gas mining, acknowledged a perception in the community of a breakdown in good governance. To restore representative government in the Town of Delaware, the first step must be to toss out that shameful resolution.

[Liam Murphy is a resident of Kenoza Lake, NY in the Town of Delaware. He is a professor of law and philosophy at New York University.]

Town of Delaware's pattern of not implementing Comp. Plan

This is not the first time they have ignored the first objective in their comprehensive plan, before making major decisions. Take a ride up on Swiss Hill North and observe, in my opinion, blatant misuse of authority. You cannot have a swimming pool in your front yard, but you can have an industrial wood processing facility (in direct opposition to a lengthy list of zoning laws that created a huge GRAY area, yet the town did not implement zoning 1202 where the more restrictive zoning laws shall prevail in any conflict in terminology) less than 150-250 feet in any direction from homes and prized agricultural properties. The surrounding pre-existing property owners suffered the exact indiginities you mention, impact from property value loss, health, safety, round the clock excessive noise and welfare of the community, as well as not protecting agriculture as the most important part of the plan. Again, the town failed to step back and consider the surrounding property owners before they began issuing segemented permits. They also failed to protect us from VOC emmisions which result in EACH stage of logging/firewood drying. And now they are allowing a 2nd kiln to be added to the business to increase pollution, noise, traffic, etc. against the unaddressed appeals submitted by surrounding property owners. The attached website indicates this business entitiy is detrimental to all of our health and well being. (http://www.nrem.iastate.edu/class/assets/for486/Readings/Emissions%20fro...) I wouldn't expect to see any deviation in pattern when it comes to fracking. Tossing out the shameful resolution is not the first step needed, in my opinion. Perhaps the fist step is to toss out the existing officals come next election. Nancy Bivins