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Property Rights Essential to Liberty

November 15, 2011

The Town of Gardiner may have had good intentions gone bad.

For hundreds of years, people were left to determine the best use of their own land, and had pretty much free reign to farm, build, and ultimately enjoy and prosper from it.  However, in recent decades, massive “land Planning” and land use tools by governments has become all the rage.  This new science of land planning is being done in the name of “preservation” and to improve the benefits of land for everyone.  Colleges like Pace graduate “land planners” and experts with many “tools” in their land planning “toolbox” to supposedly help towns and individuals make the best use of their land.

However, the real intent of all this land planning is government control.  You, the Gardiner NY Town Board, adopted a “Master Plan” in 2004, and from that an “Open Space Plan” in 2006.  While both of these documents seemed like good ideas, and were supposedly drafted with full community input, little did we know how much evil was hidden in those pages.

From these documents, extensive zoning revisions were pushed through, utilizing “open space” and cluster zoning, mandating “affordable” housing, and eliminating all use by rights in some areas of the town, particularly in those viewshed areas on the sacred Shawangunk Ridge.  Every time any new law, regulation or restriction is dreamed up, the Master Plan is pointed to as the authoritative document. Property rights are being destroyed in the name of land preservation.   In years past, folks with a lot of acreage used their land as a bank, and could sell a few acres for building lots if they needed the cash. That ability has vanished, and we now a property owner is being sued by a land trust simply for wanting a driveway to access their own land.   Not only have private property rights been diminished to the point of being non existent, owners of large tracts who farm are now being targeted by groups who hold “community conversations” public events to discuss how they can “save our farms”.  Private land is being coveted for community use.

The 14th Principle outlined in the book “The 5,000 Year Leap” * is that “Private Property Right is essential to Liberty”.   Our founding documents recognize private property as one of the unalieanable rights that humans enjoy through natural law, and that must be protected by government at all costs.

Last year, the town was taking suggestions for updates to the Master Plan.  While the document uses the terms “open space preservation” and “rural character preservation” dozens of times, nowhere are the words “private property” or “private property rights” mentioned.   I appealed to the town then, and will continue to do so, to put these documents in the framework of our Constitution by simply stating in the opening summary the intent to “protect property rights”.  This will ensure that town government recognizes that one may not protect rural character while destroying private property right in the process.

*Over 150 volumes of the Founding Fathers original writings, minutes, letters, biographies, etc, distilled in The Five Thousand Year Leap, by W. Cleon Skousen, published by The National Center for Constitutional Studies, 1981.



One Comment leave one →
  1. Rad Beranek permalink
    February 2, 2012 1:48 am

    It is amazing how many people in the larger New Paltz / Gardiner area get snared up in this balderdash of “code” rhetoric. Parents around here do not look at the contents of the textbooks of their children, or they would know and recognize the specious ideology and reasoning within. But then again, why would tthey even look – they would probably like it as it resembles what they themselvs have been taught in their high school years, except more subtly. Let’s all get a State or a Federal job and see where it gets us.

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