Beacon Citizen Network (BCN): a place for neighbors to get the word out, be heard and stay informed in all matters concerning Beacon, NY.



Does anyone know how we are protecting Beacon's watershead? There was a great piece on Frontline on PBS
and I wondered how are we protecting it?
One thing I found was Beacon does not have laws on building on lots, meaning someone buying a chunk of property and putting three/four houses on it where there was one with a ton of trees. Some watershed areas, do and are ticking people off. We don't have a ban on pesticides which I have gone to hearings about to try to start the ball rolling but some landscape people got upset with changing the laws.

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Comment by Dana Devine O'Malley on April 29, 2009 at 12:13am
Thank you Mayor for the info. I would like to take part in making improvements. One question: Who enforces the laws? Some people in my part of town are defintely not following these codes. I feel like I have to plant more trees to balance their chopping down. Do pesticides fall in the this department?
Comment by Steve Gold on April 28, 2009 at 10:57pm
Oh, one thing I know we should change is that our MS4 state required water runoff policy is only for one acre or larger. We need to bring that down to every buidling lot. The city's planning board goes into great detail whenever there is a subdivision regarding runoff (again see the code book). But it would be better if the state MS4 would also apply.
Comment by Steve Gold on April 28, 2009 at 10:03pm
Great issue....Check out our city's code book in Just do a search for "trees" then "runoff". I am by no means suggesting that we can't improve. My suggestion is that you review our storm water management laws and codes on trees and shrubs. Compare it to other municipalities and make a presentation to the city's Conservation Advisory Commission. Let me know if you want to proceed. Everyone can make a difference. Try…


204-1. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
EXCAVATION or GRADING -- Excavation or grading by blasting or by use of power-assisted machinery or equipment.
SLASHING OF TREES -- The cutting, grubbing or other removal of any three or more live trees in any calendar year, when such trees are located within less than 100 feet of each other and have a caliper of six inches or more at height of three feet above ground.
§ 204-2. Regulated activities: temporary permit.
On any lot, excavation, grading or removal of topsoil, clay, sand, gravel, rock or other earth materials; dumping, filling or depositing of such earth materials or fill of any kind; and slashing of trees are activities regulated under this chapter and are permitted only under a temporary permit granted by the City Engineer under §§ 204-3 through 204-9 or as one of the exemptions hereinafter specified. Within 20 days after the City Engineer has granted a temporary permit under this chapter, the City Council may, at its discretion, approve, modify and approve or disapprove the temporary permit. Any failure by the City Council to take action within said twenty-day period shall be deemed to be an approval by the City Council.

Landscaping. Except for parking spaces accessory to a one-family dwelling, all off-street parking areas shall be curbed and landscaped with appropriate trees, shrubs and other plant materials and ground cover, as approved by the Planning Board based upon consideration of the adequacy of the proposed landscaping to assure the establishment of a safe, convenient and attractive parking facility with a minimum amount of maintenance, including plant care, snowplowing and the removal of leaves and other debris. At least one tree with a minimum caliper of three inches and a height of four feet above ground level shall be provided within such parking area for each 10 parking spaces.
(a) Wherever possible, raised planting islands, at least eight feet in width, shall be provided to guide vehicle movement and to separate opposing rows of parking space so as to provide adequate space for plant growth, pedestrian circulation and vehicle overhang. Such raised planting islands and the landscaping within them shall be designed and arranged in such a way as to provide vertical definition to major traffic circulation aisles, entrances and exits, to channel internal traffic flow and prevent indiscriminate diagonal movement of vehicles and to provide relief from the visual monotony and shadeless expanse of a large parking area. Curbs of such islands should be designed so as to facilitate surface drainage and prevent vehicles from overlapping sidewalks and damaging landscaping materials.
(b) In all off-street parking areas containing 25 or more parking spaces, at least 10% of the total parking area shall be curbed and landscaped with trees, shrubs and other plant materials.

A. Preservation of existing features. Existing features which would add value to residential development, such as large trees, watercourses and falls, historic spots and similar irreplaceable assets, should be preserved, insofar as possible, through harmonious design of the subdivision.

b) Existing natural features which are of ecological, aesthetic or scenic value to residential development or to the City as a whole, such as wetlands, watercourses, water bodies, rock formations, stands of trees, historic spots, and similar irreplaceable assets, shall be preserved, insofar as possible, through harmonious design of the subdivision and, where appropriate, the Planning Board may require the inclusion of such features in permanent reservations.

K. No person(s) shall make connection of roof downspouts, foundation drains, areaway drains or other sources of surface runoff or groundwater to a building sewer or building drain which, in turn, is connected directly or indirectly to a public sanitary sewer unless such connection is approved by the Superintendent for purposes of disposal of polluted surface drainage.

There is an entire section of storm water runnoff......§ 190-7. Stormwater pollution prevention plans.

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