FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE03-30
York City Department of Environmental Protection Acquires Conservation
Easements In Kensico Basin
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) announced today that earlier this month the DEP Land
Acquisition Program acquired conservation easements on two properties
totaling 100 acres in the Town of New Castle in Westchester County. The
land was known locally as the Chiselhurst property, and had been part
of a water supply decades ago but has since been held privately.
One parcel protected by easement is 87 acres in size and straddles the
Kensico Reservoir basin (60 acres) and the New Croton basin (27 acres),
and is now restricted to one single-family residence. The second property
totals 13 acres, entirely in the Kensico basin, and is also restricted
to one residence. The properties remain in private ownership and will
not be opened to the public, while the conservation easements will be
monitored by the DEP to prevent adverse impacts to water quality.
“The acquisition of the easements are the result of close to five
years of negotiations involving the City, corporate and private landowners,
and the Town of New Castle,” DEP Commissioner Ward said. “This
transaction demonstrates the effectiveness of the City’s efforts
to work with landowners who seek to continue owning, enjoying and managing
their vacant land.
“These landowners have committed their land to protective covenants
that will benefit the public by protecting reservoirs that serve half
the population of the state,” Commissioner Ward continued. “The
town will benefit in that there will be additional protected open space
with no additional need for municipal services. Furthermore, the City
has committed to pay a proportional burden of the landowners’ property
taxes in perpetuity.”
The two landowners join over 600 people who have agreed to sell watershed
land to the City, allowing the City to protect more than 45,000 acres
of sensitive watershed lands from development and to do so without loss
of property taxes to local communities.
Town of New Castle Supervisor Marion Sinek said, “The Town is
pleased to have been a catalyst in this transaction, which protects a
significant property from over-development. The City has proved itself
to be an important partner with respect to protection of our Town’s
natural resources, and we encourage other local owners of vacant land
to consider working with the City.”
The 45,000 acres of land and easements acquired or under contract throughout
the watershed (in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and five counties west
of the Hudson River) involve hundreds of parcels, including about 3,500
acres of farm easements that are being acquired by the Watershed Agricultural
Council. The City’s acquisitions in the Croton system (primarily
in Yorktown, in the New Croton Reservoir Basin), along with several purchases
by New York State, total about 1,000 acres. A total of roughly 150 acres
have been acquired by the City in fee simple or under conservation easement
in the Kensico basin, to date.
The Land Acquisition Program acquires land or conservation easements
at fair market value from willing sellers only, and pays property taxes
in proportion to the property rights acquired.
For more information, landowners can contact the Land Acquisition Program
at (800) 575-LAND.