Working homeowners in the Adirondacks are losing ground, and community life suffers as we go elsewhere. The recent APA farm-housing suit got me thinking: what if everyone whose principal residence is in the Adirondack Park was allowed to develop an extra residential unit on their property regardless of APA classification? A unit that couldn’t be subdivided and sold separately and that met all site-review, zoning and code requirements. Whether this unit provided rental income, farm help, or housing for family, it could add value for those who want to stay here, in communities with possibilities for the next generation.
Maybe family farms could make it, maybe empty barns and garages could be assets; children and grandparents could stay at home. Maybe more teachers, mechanics, environmentalists, nurses, artists, construction workers, guides, and shopkeepers could live where they work. Maybe schools and fire departments would stop shrinking.
I’d like to see this experiment called the Adirondack Park work.
I’d like my neighbors to remain as sustainers of community life.
Maybe it’s time to make this a real partnership.
Marcy Neville, Keene
Neville is a member of the Keene Town Board and the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County board.