Rochester, New York City Guide
Rochester, NY City Guide

© 1996-2015 Max Lent Communications

      

  

 

Webster, New York Conservation

The following photographs are available copyright free to anyone who wishes to use them to help stop the deforestation of Webster New York.

The following photographs are of a parcel of land that exists at the West end of Rollins Run, in Webster, NY.  A housing development is due to go into this parcel in 2006.  The town of Webster New York has a "Comprehensive Master Plan" which does not permit this kind of deforestation, but no one that I talked to in the Webster Town government stepped forward to protect this forest.  Some of the reasons given were that the forest was not old growth, not valuable, and not entitled to special protection.  Some Town of Webster officials I talked with had never heard of the Comprehensive Master Plan.  The following is a response from outgoing Town Supervisor, Catherine Thomas, to several emails requesting help in stopping the devastation of the forest.

"In your messages, you continuously refer to the Town’s Master Plan (a.k.a. Comprehensive Plan). The plan is just that – a plan. There are no penalties for anyone not following the plan. Once a plan like this is adopted, the Town puts in place (or often amends) ordinances to go along with the Plan. Anyone in violation of the ordinances may be subject to penalties.

Removing trees from a property, such as you have described in the instance below, does not violate any Town ordinance. Therefore, there is no action required on the part of the Town."

What the Town Supervisor did not mention was that Comprehensive Plan file is also named the Official Plan as you can see by its URL: http://www.ci.webster.ny.us/properties/OfficialPlan.pdf.  What the Town Supervisor didn't mention was the Comprehensive Plan was written in 2000 and the ordinances required to implement the plan have not been implemented.  The necessary ordinances are not likely to be implemented as long as developers have their way.  No one I have spoken with in Town Government has been willing to divulge exactly how the necessary ordinances can be implemented.

The following are some quotes from the Town of Webster Comprehensive Master Plan.

“Surrounded on two sides by water and retaining much of the open aspect of its agricultural past, the Town of Webster is a community of leafy neighborhoods and significant open space. The Town continues to grow, however, and over 50 percent of its land area is now developed. Open space, natural areas and farmland are becoming increasingly rare in Webster, and with development continuing, it is increasingly important to ensure that the green open space quality so characteristic and valued in the Town is preserved.”

“Keep Webster green by protecting natural resources and maintaining and enhancing open space.

This plan proposes several methods of accomplishing this, including extending the area of the Large Lot zoning district; enhancing the clustering options within the Large Lot district; increasing use of environmental protection overlay districts; the tightening of restrictions on timber removal in these districts; expanding use of clustering in residential development; increasing use of conservation easements; increasing the required percentage of green space in commercial, office and industrial districts; and expanding the Town’s system of trails by utilizing stream valleys and other natural areas.”

“Require developers to incorporate open space and sensitive environmental features into the design of development projects.”

“Preserve and enhance the Town’s aesthetic and scenic resources, including the Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay waterfronts, the Sandbar, stream valleys, orchards and woodlots, farmland, and open space.”

“Retain as much land in open space as possible, especially those lands with woodlots, sensitive environmental conditions, or special scenic qualities.”

“The concept of, and protections for, ‘critical environmental areas,’ as defined by the NYS SEQRA regulations, should be codified and designated. The town’s Open Space Committee should recommend to the Town Board those rare areas in the town that would benefit from this designation.”

“Restrict timber removal to ‘light touch’ techniques, and aggressively restrict timber/vegetation removal in the lake and Bay watersheds.”

The first set of photos are how the forest looks now after it was logged by the current owner in cooperation with a future developer ignoring the "light touch techniques" specified in Webster's Comprehensive Master Plan.  Click on the photos to see larger versions.  Even larger versions are available without charge or copyright to anyone interested in using them for conservation purposes.

A tree not considered large enough to defined as "old growth."

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Aftermath of supposedly "light touch" logging sanctioned by the Town of Webster.

Remains of a tree not considered large enough to save by the Town of Webster.

Remains of a tree not considered large enough to save by the Town of Webster.

The following are views of the same forest before the demolition took place.  Click on images to see larger view.

 

Webster Forest Before Demolition.



 

 

 

 

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