2018-05-02 / Front Page

Dean Frazier stepping down from Watershed Affairs post

Surprise revelation made at BOS meeting
By Eddie Donoghue

The spotlight was on Commissioner of Watershed Affairs Dean Frazier at the Delaware County Board of Supervisors meeting where in addition to giving an update on a recent program solicitation meeting, he announced his retirement.

“This is my last bite at the apple, so on my way out of the door I have some comments, a couple short stories and thoughts to share with you,” he said. Frazier had two main points he wanted to emphasize: his and the county’s dedication to agriculture, and the efforts and successes made in the fight against land acquisition.

“Too often I’ve been told the Board of Supervisors doesn’t care about agriculture. My experience over the last nearly 30 years has been much different,” he said. Frazier, who served as Commissioner for 19 years, talked about a successful effort to protect agriculture that went back to 1990. For two years the county was in negotiations with the City fighting the proposed watershed rules and regulations. The county spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on that fight, Frazier noted.

He also talked of a time subsequent to that when the Delaware County Action Plan for Watershed Protection was able to secure “millions in grants of which a high percentage benefited agriculture directly and indirectly.”

On land acquisition, always a hot-button issue, he didn’t mince words, saying, “The land acquisition issue is still the 800- pound unjustifiable gorilla that needs to be fought.” He talked about gains made in the way of WAC easements, giving more protections to land owners. He also mentioned gains that were made in both the water supply and Filtration Avoidance Determination thanks in part to county lawyer Kevin Young who Frazier called, “The pit bull of all Watershed attorneys.”

“We have demonstrated time and again that we are the best stewards of the land,” Frazier said. He cited a build-out analysis and other studies which he believes has proven the county’s case, saying, “We hold no developable land that is a threat to New York city…it’s not a threat to water supply.”

No more baloney

Frazier, who will stay on as commissioner until July 18, talked about his personal reasons for retiring as well, saying, “My tolerance for baloney is lower than ever, hence my fuse is shorter and diplomacy on my part, let’s say it’s waning.”

He had many compliments for his various colleagues over the years, saying, “It was my pleasure, honor, good fortune and opportunity to work with these fine people.”

The rest of his address to the board was to detail a stakeholders’ meeting held on April 18 with the City, amongst others, where the land acquisition program was discussed. The county proposed alternative ideas such as a focus on water quality as opposed to open space policies.

Frazier says the county’s stance was not met with enthusiasm, saying, “I felt our proposal was falling on deaf ears and I’m not quite sure what our response to that might be.” Frazier mentioned the county is seeking the help of newly appointed Region 2 Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency Pete Lopez.

Little to develop

“There’s very little good land left to develop. In fact, it’s at a tipping point in some of our towns already,” Frazier said.

Chairman of the Board Tina Molé made a couple brief announcements towards the end of the meeting, officially appointing Joe Kelly to the Olympic Regional Development Agency. She also expanded the Department of Public Works Committee to seven members, saying, “I’m including Supervisor [Pat] Davis and Supervisor [Charlie] Gregory and with Sam [former Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe] leaving I’m appointing George Haynes as chairman.”

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