We have a victory to report to you. On May 2nd, the Gardiner Town Board voted to appoint environmental attorney Josh Verleun to the Gardiner Planning Board. In so doing, they denied a third consecutive 7-year term on that board to Mike Boylan, the owner of Wright’s Farm and one of the biggest land owners in Gardiner. We on the Gardiner Democratic Committee have for years lobbied heavily for more balance on the developer-dominated board that interprets and applies the town’s zoning laws. On Tuesday we got a step closer to that balance.
The vote was Dukler, Walls and Reynolds for Verleun’s appointment and Majestic and Hinson against. Town Supervisor, MaryBeth Majestic lamented the loss of Boylan and, in response to remarks from the floor about ongoing Planning Board biases in favor of development, gave a vigorous defense of town residents’ rights to develop their property as they wish.
We would like to publicly thank Town Board members Laura Faye Walls, David Dukler and Mike Reynolds for their votes in favor of Mr. Verleun’s appointment. Mike Reynolds especially showed extraordinary courage in the face of very strong political headwinds. Special thanks also go to our brothers and sisters in Move Forward NY 19, including, but not limited to, Debra and Jason Clinton and Lisa Lindsley. If you made a phone call or wrote an email, you made the difference. We are truly fortunate to be allied with such a wonderful group of activists. To our fellow members of the Gardiner Democratic Committree, thanks for all the hard work in this. You know who you are. And thanks to Carol Richman, for persisting as the sole voice in opposition to the status quo on the Planning Board. Stand by for reinforcements.
This, a single appointment to a rather obscure committee in a small Hudson Valley town, may not seem like much of a victory. But this is something we have been working on for a very long time. And, in the age of Trump, any victory for conservation, the environment, and open space is a significant one.