Saratoga nonprofit demands town to stop clearcutting trees

Saratoga County

Update: A previous version of this story misidentified the town as Saratoga Springs. In fact, this is in the town of Saratoga. NEWS10 regrets the error.

SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Saratoga Lake Association (SLA) is demanding that the town of Saratoga stop tree clearcutting operations immediately.

A lawyer from Hodgson Russ Attorneys issued a demand letter on behalf of the SLA and its president, Eliot Cresswell, to the Town Board, the Planning Board, and the town’s Zoning Officer, Gilman Albert.

At issue is the clearing at the proposed Cedar Bluff Subdivision. The letter says that Witt Construction, which is clearcutting trees at the site, is “in flagrant violation of the Zoning Regulations, the Town’s subdivision laws, and SEQRA,” or the State Environmental Quality Review Act. They the crew does not have any required approvals and that the company is sidestepping a review process.

The Developer is still in the initial stages of the approval process, having only submitted a subdivision application. Allowing any construction activities to commence before the Board reviews the subdivision plan is a direct violation.

Charles W. Malcomb

SLA membership was informed that the town has 10 days to respond to the demand. “If the Board refuses to act within ten (10) days to enforce the applicable state and local laws against the Developer,” the letter says, “my clients will commence the appropriate action, with full authority of the Town as granted to them by Town Law § 268(2).”

A letter from Creswell to SLA members says that the SLA board does not blindly oppose development or disregard business interest or landowner rights. Still, Cresswell said they are committed to the environmental health of the Saratoga Lake area, and want officials to make transparent decisions based on the same commitment.

Take a look at the demand letter:

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