At its Feb. 2 meeting, the Gardiner Town Board continued to make strides in furthering its efforts to be an environmentally friendly and conscious locality by establishing a Natural Resources Inventory.
“It’s a land use planning tool, an educational resource. It’s an essential tool for the Building Department for decision making and zoning considerations. It helps to guide policy — how we want to proceed and how do we want to work through our environmental conservation efforts,” said Roberta Clements, chairperson of the Environmental Conservation Commission, during her presentation before the board.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, a NRI complies information on important, naturally occurring features in an area, such as geology, soils, streams, wetlands, forests and wildlife in the forms of maps, data and a comprehensive report. The inventory allows policymakers and other stakeholders to make well informed decisions before taking on projects that could alter or affect the area’s natural environment.
The ECC and the DEC, as well as Gardiner’s Open Space Commission, collaborated to create the Town of Gardiner’s NRI over the past year. Though not completely finalized, 24 maps of the municipality are already available on the town’s website — one of the NRI’s main considerations is that the information should be publicly accessible at all times.
“From working with the Planning Board members, I can see how this could be a real help in making informed decisions and also it could be very helpful in the update in the comp plans,” Glen Gidaly, the Planning Board Clerk, hopped on the virtual meeting to say.
Town Supervisor Marybeth Majestic read aloud the resolution, which stated that the objectives of the NRI would be “to assist the town, it’s various agencies and boards and the public in identifying and considering important resources located within the town ...to provide information to inform comprehensive planning, policy making, zoning updates, local land use decisions, conservations easement selection and design, climate adaptation planning and stewardship of the environment.”
The resolution was passed unanimously and the Gardiner NRI was adopted.
Following the NRI discussion, the board appointed several new members to the understaffed ECC, which only has three active team members and therefore not enough to sustain a quorum.
“We had five candidates that we interviewed for our slots. All of them were excellent candidates with varying levels of experience in environmental issues with administrative issues. Laura and I were looking for the strongest candidates to round out the team,” said Councilman David Dukler.
Misha Fredericks, Neil Renlab, Joan Parker and Michael Hartner were unanimously appointed to the ECC. Fredericks already serves on Climate Smart Gardiner, and Hartner serves on Board of Assessment Review and Board of Ethics. Because of the Sunday blizzard, Majestic was unable to trek to Town Hall to confirm what their terms would be, so the board agreed to appoint the four new members Feb. 2 and confirm their terms the following week, Feb. 9.
During the appointment, Clements stepped down from her role as the ECC’s chairperson and handed over the reigns to Hartner.