New law paves the best way for land safety in Guilderland

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New law paves the way for land protection in Guilderland

Photo by Massarah Mikati

July 18, 2021Updated July 18, 2021 2:46 p.m.

Guilderland Town Supervisor Peter Barber at Crossgates Mall on Thursday, June 11, 2020 in Guilderland, NY (Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

Lori Van Buren / Albany Times Union

GILDERLAND – A new state law will enable the city to set up maintenance easements.

The law allowing Guilderland to participate in the program sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey and Rep. Patricia Fahy was recently enacted.

Every city in New York must file an application to be able to hand out maintenance easements, which must then be determined by state law, said Mayor Peter Barber. He said Guilderland had applied for years. The program serves as an incentive for landowners to voluntarily leave their property vacant in exchange for tax credits.

“It allows us to offer large landowners (tax breaks) who want to keep their land but are also willing to keep it from developing and preserve it,” Barber said. “It will be great for us and it will help us protect natural areas.”

Barber said landowners in the western part of the city have shown interest in the program in the past and that he expects renewed interest with the signing of the new law.

Massarah Mikati reports on Communities of Color and breaking news for the Times Union. She previously worked as a state reporter for Johnson Newspaper Corp. and reported on the New York State Legislature for 10 counties in the Hudson Valley, western New York, and North Country. From 2017-2019, Massarah was a Hearst Fellow reporting on immigrants and refugees for the Times Union, then for the Houston Chronicle. Massarah graduated from Ohio State University in 2017 with a BA in Journalism, Middle Eastern Studies, and Francophone Studies. Follow her on Twitter and send tips to mmikati@timesunion.com.