FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE99-95
York City Signs Purchase Contracts For Lands Near Kensico and New
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has
executed purchase contracts to acquire lands near the Kensico and
New Croton Reservoirs in Westchester County, according to an announcement
by DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. Both purchase contracts
were executed under the historic 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement
(MOA) that enables DEP to acquire lands and conservation easements
from willing sellers for water quality protection purposes throughout
the watersheds of the City's reservoirs on both sides of the Hudson
"The land near the Kensico Reservoir is a commercially-zoned,
privately- owned, 15.72-acre tract in the Town of New Castle,"
said Commissioner Miele. "This is a particularly significant
acquisition because the property includes part of Bear Gutter Creek
which flows directly into the northeastern end of the reservoir. The
tract was previously proposed for development as office space, a storage
warehouse and a parking lot, which would have had an adverse impact
on water quality. After the acquisition is completed, the land will
be preserved as an undeveloped reservoir buffer, an integral part
of our comprehensive water quality protection program at the Kensico
Reservoir. The open-space will also benefit the surrounding community."
"The parcel near the New Croton Reservoir in the Town of Yorktown
is a privately-owned 178-acre tract that abuts City-owned lands at
the reservoir as well as at Bald Mountain, a park owned by Westchester
County," said Commissioner Miele. "The vacant property has
beautiful views and, of course, had prime development potential. It,
too, will be protected as reservoir buffer for water supply protection
purposes. As a connector between the City's reservoir property and
the Bald Mountain park, it has added value for area residents as open
space and wildlife habitat."
"My sister and I, who own the parcel near the New Croton Reservoir,
are very pleased to have signed this contract with DEP," said
Mr. David Wit. "We are sure this will be very beneficial to the
watershed and the fine work of the DEP."
The City has committed to spending $11.5 million to purchase lands
and conservation easements in the Croton watershed, while the State
of New York will spend $7.5 million. The City will also spend at least
$250 million to purchase lands and easements in the watersheds of
the Catskill/Delaware water supply system, which include six reservoirs
west of the Hudson River as well as the Kensico, Boyd Corners and
West Branch reservoirs east of the Hudson.
The property near the New Croton Reservoir is the first that the
City has contracted for in the Croton System. Both City and State
are now in discussions with several landowners regarding additional
acquisitions in the Croton watershed. While the contract for the Bear
Gutter Creek tract is the first signed in the Kensico basin, the City
expects to make additional purchases there, as well as in the other
reservoir basins of the Catskill/ Delaware System on both sides of
As of December 22nd, the City has signed purchase agreements with
over 280 landowners totaling 18,500 acres throughout the entire 1,969-square
mile watershed. Since October of 1997, the City has closed on 123
of these projects, bringing the total acreage acquired to 8,733 at
a cost of $18.8 million.
The Land Acquisition Program involves willing seller/willing buyer
agreements. The City offers to purchase lands and conservation easements
at fair market value, as determined by independent, professional appraisers.
The City will pay assessed property taxes on fee acquisitions and
on conservation easements; the latter, however, will be proportional
to the value of the easement with respect to the overall vacant property.
All lands acquired will be protected from development for water quality
and supply purposes, with certain fee acquisitions opened up for public
access and recreational use as appropriate. The City has already opened
approximately 1,400 acres of newly acquired lands for public access
to fishing and hiking, and an additional 1,000 acres for hunting.
Recreational use decisions are made on a site-by-site basis with recommendations
and advice provided by landowners, local towns, the Sporting Advisory
Committees, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Lands under conservation easements will not be opened for public
access, except in instances where such an arrangement is desired by
and agreeable to the landowners.
Landowners wishing to contact the City regarding a possible sale
of land or conservation easements, may call 1-800-575-LAND.