Transfer of Development Rights & Sweet Hollow Park
The following is from Alissa Sue Taff who is the President of the Sweet Hollow Civic Association. The letter is in support of creating Sweet Hollow Park which requires a transfer of development rights.
The Sweet Hollow Community had a vision of a beautiful park, in an area where few exist, surrounded by homes with many children and across the street from a senior community. Sweet Hollow Park would be easily accessible, and designed for all ages and abilities. So, in 2001, we began our quest by asking the Town to acquire Meyer’s Farm, from it’s original owners, with funds from the Open Space Bond of 1998. Since then, two additional Open Space Bonds have passed, and still no parks have been acquired in the area.
The Meyer’s Family did not sell to the Town, and instead the B.A.P.S. purchased the property, in 2003, for use as a religious center. We did not give up, however, and renewed our efforts as we met with their leadership, representatives of the Town, and several Civic Leaders. We shared our dream with the B.A.P.S., and they graciously agreed not to build if an alternative site could be found within a reasonable time period. This became a very difficult task, and time has run out.
Finally, after a nine year search, a property has been found that meets the needs of the B.A.P.S., and can also provide for very much needed affordable Senior Housing. While Deshon Drive has a sewer system in place, Meyer’s Farm, located on a Special Groundwater Protection Area, would require a very large septic system. With no development allowed on Meyer’s Farm, our water supply will forever be protected.
Naysayers have raised the issue of the Transfer of Development Rights from the five acres of Deshon Drive and Meyer’s Farm, with regards to both density and financial benefit to the developer of the Senior Homes. They fail to understand that the calculations should be based on cumulative acreage. Without the Transfer of Development Rights, Meyer’s Farm will be developed and all the Senior Homes could still be built. Density is not being created, but transferred. For every square foot of density from the 5 acres that is being transferred, 1.6 square feet of Open Space is being created at the 8 plus acres of Sweet Hollow Park.
When the Town purchases Meyer’s Farm, the price they will be paying is greatly reduced, due to the total sterilization of any use of those five acres. They will become Passive Parkland and, in essence, the Town will be purchasing 8.1 acres of Parkland at the price of only the 3.1 acres that will be active Parkland. They will not be paying for any land or density that the developer will be using and will benefit everyone in Huntington, since more dollars will be left in the Open Space Fund to acquire additional parks or enhancements.
Additionally, residential use is an “upzone,” not a “downzone,” with far less intensive use than the current industrial zoning.
The Town Code, for the Transfer of Development Rights, has a provision in 198-118.2 that gives the Town Board the discretion to determine density for , “… the preservation of open space…and environmentally sensitive areas.” This is not a new code or law. The extremely unique circumstances of having both a Special Groundwater Protection Area and the creation of Parkland limits its precedent setting impact on any other parcel.
For all of these reason, we unanimously and overwhelming support and respectfully request that you pass this Resolution. Let’s fulfill the dream and finally create beautiful Sweet Hollow Park!