MILTON – The Town Board passed unanimously on Wednesday a resolution “authorizing the submission of a proposal for the potential purchase by the Town” of the 297-acre former Boy Scout facility, Camp Boyhaven.
According to Planning Board Chairman Larry Woolbright, who addressed the Town Board, and other town officials and volunteers involved in the project, the plan is for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to provide about 75 percent of the purchase price, which could be as much as $1.5 million. The state would use most of the property to expand the Middle Grove State Forest in Greenfield, which is adjacent to Boyhaven to the northwest. The state would pay property taxes on the forest land if the combined expanded acreage exceeds 500 acres, Woolbright said.
Supervisor Dan Lewza said the town would need to make sure the DEC came through with its funding. The town’s Open Space Committee, on which Woolbright serves, will enter a sealed bid. Officials said the Boy Scouts may be willing to accept an offer from the town that comes in lower than bids from private developers. If the bid is accepted, the Town Board would still have to vote for the purchase after a public hearing, and the action would be subject to a permissive referendum. Lewza said the town’s participation would be contingent on the state’s, but that the funding would likely require the issuance of bonds by the town.
Kathleen Moser, DEC deputy commissioner for the Office of Natural Resources, wrote to Lewza Wednesday confirming DEC interest in expanding the forest “and providing protection to the Kayaderosseras Creek as it flows through the property.” She did not, however, commit in the letter to spending any money.
Camp Boyhaven is in northwest Milton, just south of the Greenfield line, west of Creek Road and on both sides of Route 29. If the proposed deal goes through, the public would have access to all the acreage for recreation, but the town would only directly control 34 acres off Boyhaven Road, including two ponds, and the main buildings such as the White House (the former Fisk home) and the dining hall. Some of the other buildings would likely be demolished.
The Boy Scouts of America’s Twin Rivers Council recently decided to close and sell the property, which was in use until earlier this year.
In other business, the board set a public hearing on July 5, and continuing on July 19, to discuss the proposed 91-unit, single-story, senior citizen rental housing project at 91 Hutchins Road, on the north side. Michael Toohey, attorney for the developer Tom Samascott, made a presentation stressing the need for senior housing as the baby boom generation ages.
However, many people in the packed meeting room opposed the development, including Dorothy Christiansen, citing potential traffic problems. They said they want the area preserved for what it is zoned for, single-family houses. The developer is seeking a planned development district, which, if ultimately approved by the Town Board, would override the current zoning.
After some opponents complained people would be away for the July 5 meeting because of the holiday the day before, Lewza said he would keep the hearing open until July 19.
To comment on this news item, log in and post below, or email reporter [email protected].