Our elected officials have failed to support the will of the majority

To the Editor:
Congratulations to Bruce Dearstyne for his excellent article “Guilderland is at a tipping point and needs a vision to shape its future” [The Altamont Enterprise, Nov. 10, 2022]. Having moved here as a young man 60 years ago, I have seen Guilderland change from a mostly rural suburb to a more densely populated developed community.

If it weren’t for the initial actions of Save the Pine Bush, much of our once abundant open space would have disappeared and we now would be Wolf Road on steroids. Despite the efforts of Save the Pine Bush and the subsequent Pine Bush Commission, much of our open space has been lost to development.

Our elected officials have repeatedly failed to support the will of the majority of residents and time and again have caved in to the pressure of big business and developers. The politicians of both parties lack the backbone to say no to the moneyed interests.

Who has benefited from this out-of-control growth? Not the farmers who sold their land for a pittance of its current value. Not the residents who have to fight the increased traffic and infrastructure needs caused by development. Not the town government, which has to continually struggle with infrastructure maintenance and development. Not the small business owner who fights to survive against the competition of big-box stores.

Has development benefited our community? Has Crossgates Mall and Crossgates Commons made our community more liveable and beautiful? Could the new rental garages and the car wash on Route 20 have been made more attractive?

Although we have expanded and improved our public park facilities such as Tawasentha and Western Turnpike golf course, we have let or are letting possible expansion of public open space pass us by. The multiple residences being built on the former Hiawatha Trails golf course across from Farnsworth Middle School and the Costco expansion at Crossgates Mall will further exacerbate traffic issues on routes 155 and 20.

What about the future of the former French’s Hollow golf course located along the Watervliet Reservoir? Developers drool at the possible purchase of the site. Its development would inevitably lead to further pollution of this already threatened major source of our water and compound traffic flow problems on Route146.

The key questions to be answered are: What do the residents of Guilderland want? Will they make their voices heard? Will they elect a town government that stands up to big business and powerful developers or will we be swallowed up by them?

Hopefully, the recently organized Comprehensive Plan Update Committee will help answer some of these questions.

Time will soon tell because, as Mr. Dearstyne has written, we are at a tipping point.

Charles Rielly


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