Changes Needed In Wetlands Discussion

To The Reader’s Forum:

The topic of how New York State’s pending wetlands regulations revisions undertaking is going to affect the Chautauqua Lake community has become an emotional discussion topic in the community. Suppositions are being expounded upon that may or may not be real. The discussion needs to be toned down and better well-rounded.

Chautauqua Lake is certainly a main economic driver for Chautauqua County’s economic well-being. Keeping Chautauqua Lake healthy therefore becomes very important for economic reasons in addition to ecological reasons. Wetlands are an important factor in protecting Chautauqua Lake’s ecological health. Wetlands are also important in buffering flood control which thereby protects property and related property values. Therefore, wetlands are in need of being protected so that they can continue to enhance the community. Most of Chautauqua Lake’s shoreline is developed. That makes protecting existing wetlands very important.

Much has been unfoundedly conjectured about property values being significantly harmed. Certainly some particular properties could result in lowered assessments. Looking at the greater picture has not been presented. Annually property assessments rise and fall for individual properties. The net difference to each town’s property assessment base has been following a trend of increasing overall values. Maintaining a healthy Chautauqua Lake will certainly be important to continuing this upward trend.

Conjecture has also occurred about how current residents will be otherwise harmed. The state spokesperson has refuted those conjectures.

Specific wetlands rules changes have yet to be proposed. That will occur months down the road. The comment period that has now ended sought input for aspects of rules changes that are being thought about by the state. Jumping to conclusions at this point in time is inappropriate.

Having served multiple years on a Village Board and on a School Board, I understand the dynamics of tax assessments. Having been actively involved in a number of environmentally related organizations, I also understand that aspect. And, I am a lakefront resident so I understand the impact that lake management has upon my family’s standard of living. Economic progress and environmental protection can coexist. By implementing Low Impact Development combined with Smart Growth both masters can be well served to the benefit of all. This is the discussion that needs to occur instead of the current hype.

Doug Conroe

Bemus Point


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