Citizens for Shelby Preservation say Local Law No. 5 protects town’s rural, agriculture nature
Citizens for Shelby Preservation supports the Shelby Town Board in their efforts to protect the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. We support Local Law #5, the Wildlife Refuge Protection Overlay District for the following reasons:
• Zoning laws protect the rights of all citizens. If a property use negatively affects surrounding properties, it is incumbent on the town to write zoning laws to protect against this.
• Local Law #5 is minimal in its restrictions.
• Meetings were held by the Town to gain public input. Comments from residents were taken in to account when drafting the local law. For example, the board reduced the distance from the refuge for cell towers to accommodate resident concerns on cell coverage.
• Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is a valuable asset to the town. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge supports approximately 266 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, along with a variety of other wildlife. It has had an active bald eagle nest since 1986.
Species of special concern that use the property include Short Eared Owl, Marsh Hawk, Black Tern, Black Ducks, Osprey, American woodcock, and Peregrine Falcons. This diversity of wildlife benefits the town in the form of tourism, fishing and hunting dollars.
The refuge provides benefits to local farmers who rent lands from the refuge, and the existence of a healthy swamp supports improved water quality downstream in Oak Orchard Creek. The town is correct in valuing the refuge as a long-term economic engine over short-term economic gains that might result from some of the uses prohibited by this local law.
The town also recognized that while the prohibited uses may result in some tax dollars, the town is unlikely to ever be adequately compensated for the environmental costs that are less easy to quantify, including damages to habitat and water quality, air pollution, noise pollution, and harm to existing infrastructure such as local roads and bridges.
• Hospitals, nursing homes and large hotels have large footprints, requiring large open areas of concrete and asphalt to support parking lots, helipads, etc. These uses would have the potential to alter the microclimates next to the refuge (through heat island effects) while also increasing pollution through increased traffic. These are not appropriate uses next to a refuge.
• The amended law allows small scale hospitality facilities that would not present the type of heavy traffic that a large-scale hotel operation could threaten the refuge.
• A cell tower placement at 2,000 feet from the refuge is as effective as placement closer to the refuge. Cell towers could serve as a flight hazard for the species that use the swamps as part of their migration route.
• The amended law supports farming and all current uses of the land. We believe farming is a compatible use with the wildlife refuge. Many migrating waterfowl use farmer’s fields as a stop-over during their migration.
• A stone quarry is not a compatible use next to the wildlife refuge.
We believe that local law #5 was properly presented and vetted by the citizens of our township. By passing this law, the Town Board has acted responsibly in protecting the quality of life within our community for the long-term. Our thanks again to the Shelby Town Board for their efforts to protect and preserve the southern half of our town’s rural, agricultural nature.
Citizens for Shelby Preservation
Wendi and Tim Pencille
Ken and Shirley Printup
Sue and Henry Beamer
Fran and Diane Domoy
James and Eleanor Wittkopp Strickland
Douglas H. Domedion and Jeffery D. Domedion
Brian McCarthy and Deborah White
Russell and Cheryl Cree
Laverne and Doris Fuller
Ric and Karen Jones
Dennis and Lorraine Davis