Kingston Land Trust Land Preservation Approach

In our last discussion, we mentioned the history of the Kingston Land Trust’s Yeomans St. parcel that has significance for the Newark Lime & Cement Co. tunnel quarry entrance on site and has additional potential for a community garden on a portion of the site.

In this discussion, we will explore the open space and historic site preservation practices and techniques of the Kingston Land Trust.

Many if not most land trusts, concentrate on easements either for conservation or historic preservation.

Kingston Land Trust is unusual among land trusts since being an urban-based program based organization, conservation and historic preservation easements are only one of several preservation tools at our disposal. While we spent considerable time and effort developing a conservation easement program, this program is just one of several we may employ depending upon facts and circumstances.

For example, Yeomans Street mentioned above was preserved through purchasing a fee simple ownership from the City of Kingston that had the property on its surplus property list with no auction bidders due to its lack of development potential. We however saw potential in its historic value and its potential to work with the local community as part of our community garden program turning an ill maintained awkward parcel into a community asset.

Another Kingston surplus parcel was important to us for its location directly adjoining one of the local rail trails that the common council also saw as important. This led us to having a stakeholder role as contract vendee for the parcel with regards to the rail trail in question.

On the Hudson Landing open space preliminary planning discussions, a different and collaborative approach was taken in coordination with Scenic Hudson, local and State governmental agencies, other non profits and the developer to try to develop a stewardship plan acceptable to the communities and agencies involved and the developer at minimal cost to all concerned using models of projects already completed elsewhere.

We followed a similar collaborative approach in preliminary discussions concerning the Flatbush Ridge in the Town of Ulster by promoting the efforts of stakeholders in attempting to preserve key parcels with archeological and environmental significance and habitat similarities to the open space areas proposed for the Hudson Landing site nearby.

We have also taken a collaborative approach with the African American historic sites within the City of Kingston, by sponsoring and helping prepare historic designation nominations and working with the community to rededicate Mt. Zion Cemetery.

With one of our gardens we had to resolve the concerns of those actually working and farming the land with the requirements of the property owner and found that a leasehold-sublease arrangement worked best for everyone.

These are just a few examples of our collaborative and creative problem solving approach that sets us apart from other organizations.

Kevin McEvoy,
May 8, 2011

Vice Chair, KLT Board of Directors
Chair, the KLT Land Use, Management and Planning Committee
Chair, Finance Committee

 

 

 

 

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