Preserving the Future of Ramapo
|Ramapo is a beautiful Town
that has reached the limit of sustainable growth. It has the same water
resources it had a generation ago, the same two-lane highways and the
same sewer capacity. Yet the Town Board has a Comprehensive Plan that
would significantly down zone much of the unincorporated areas of the
Town and add thousands more residents to our already strained
|Recently, the Town
Supervisor announced changes to the Plan that would limit some of the
proposed down zoning. While this is a good first step, these changes do
not go nearly far enough to address the concerns of Town residents. The
Plan still calls for significantly higher housing density than would be
allowed with existing zoning, which our infrastructure cannot handle.
(To view a copy of the Draft Comprehensive Plan go to www.ramapo.org)
|We Are Already Growing Too
|Between 1990 and 2000 our
Town grew by 16 percent, and accounted for 70% of overall Rockland
County growth. If we donít do something to control Ramapo's growth, we
will grow even faster in this decade. And, as we have reached the limit
of sustainable growth, the results of increased growth are painfully
|Rockland County has tapped
all of its available water resources
|Rockland County is
completely dependent upon rainfall within the county for its water
source. The main issue is that we do not have the water resources
to support the existing population, yet alone the greatly expanded
population that would result from implementation of the Ramapo
|This is not a matter of
opinion. It is a statement of what is known about water resources.
Nothing is on the drawing board that will do much more than gloss over
the water shortage. We cannot allow debate about population growth to
focus only on the availability of physical space and perceived needs for
housing. Rockland isn't just space-limited. It's resource-limited.
|Our roads can barely
handle existing traffic
|Traffic congestion on
Route 59 already is unacceptable. Adding approximately 14,500 additional
people in the proposed new multi-family areas along Route 59 in the
Monsey area, as the plan proposes, will create gridlock along Route 59
during its busiest periods. (This population projection is after the
changes announced to the Plan by the Supervisor.) The same applies to
Route 17 traffic in the Sloatsburg area, where current congestion would
be worsened by greatly increased population.
|Our sewers are overloaded
|Our enormously expensive
sewers were built largely with federal funds, but we know that there
will likely be no federal or state money available to rip up all of our
roads and put in new sewer lines. So who would pay for it? We
would, in higher taxes.
|How We Stop Down Zoning
|Our Town Board has
consistently demonstrated they care more about being satisfying a bloc
vote than ensuring the quality of life of the vast majority of the
residents of our Town. All of the Town's proposed down zoning is
to satisfy this bloc vote that is seeking these changes. This bloc seeks
to build multifamily high-density housing that is out of character with
the rest of our community.
|A referendum to change
Town government structure
|As our Town politicians
have demonstrated they are beholden to a group of bloc voters, we need
to take action to ensure the rest of the residents are heard. We can do
this by changing the structure of our Town Government. The structure we
are seeking to establish is the ward system. Under this system of
government, councilmen are elected from local areas rather than the Town
at large (our present system). And, to make this system of government
more effective, we are seeking to increase the number of councilmen from
four to six.
|Under this system the Town
will be divided into six wards, each of which will contain approximately
1/6 of the Town's population. Each ward will be represented by one Town
Board member. This will make possible a more balanced representation of
the whole Town on the Town Board and will give you the opportunity to
have a Town Board member whose primary concern is the the needs and
interests of your own neighborhood. In effect, it will diminish the
impact the bloc vote has on our Town Board.
|Change Town government
|More than anyone our Town
Supervisor is responsible for the travesty of this Draft Comprehensive
Plan. Under the guise of "preserving open space" Mr. St. Lawrence
proposes to down zone everything left under Town control and to destroy
the quality of life of our Town. His "Plan revisions" and "Open Space"
announcements are politically motivated in order to placate the
residents of our Town. Make no mistake. The revisions to the Plan still
allow for the wholesale down zoning of our Town.
|This November we need to
make a change. We need to break the stranglehold the Democratic machine
has had on our Town for far too long. You can help elect Joseph Brennan
as Town Supervisor and Michel Vilson and Herman Friedman as member of
the Town Board. Sign up for e-mail news and volunteer to help in the
neighborhoods to get out the vote.
|Each One of Us Makes a
|In the last Town election,
only 17,000 out of a possible 53,000 registered voters cast a ballot.
This in a Town that has 110,000 residents. And, the bloc vote accounts
for only 1/20 of the Town. So why should we continue to let their voice
be heard louder than ours? In the past, the rest of us have been
very apathetic voters. We cannot continue to be apathetic. Those who are
not registered to vote should make a point of doing so, and those who
are registered should make a point of voting. We have no one but
ourselves to blame if we don't take part in the political process
|As well, we cannot expect
that every citizen knows about the down zoning the Town is proposing. We
must be diligent in informing friends and neighbors of the negative
impact of our Towns' actions. Tell others about our website and
encourage them to sign up for e-mail notices of events and meetings.
|Volunteers to save our
Town are needed
|Do you want to a voice in
what happens to our Town? If you do, then an hour or two a week is all
it takes. We can win. But to do so, we need your help. Please stand up
and deliver on what you believe in by volunteering your time. We will
soon be announcing a plan to set up neighborhood action groups.
|Want to Know More?
|The Town has worked so
hard to "spin doctor" everything in order to make themselves "look good"
it can be hard to know what's the truth. Keep up with news on the
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