Golf Courses and Drinking Water

As you may have heard, Senator Carlucci from Rockland County and Assemblywoman Galef from Ossining have introduced enabling legislation, S4420 and A6444 respectively, that would adversely affect many golf courses in New York State.  It would allow municipalities to assess New York State golf courses and clubs based on the properties’ highest and best use. For many golf facilities, this would mean being treated for tax purposes as residential developments with much higher values than the current ones.  In some instances, the value could increase tenfold.  Both measures are enabling legislation, which means it would ultimately be up to local municipalities to make the decision whether to assess golf clubs at this higher rate. Regardless, any initiative that would virtually force golf courses to be sold for development because they could not afford to pay the higher taxes would be devastating to our quality of life and that of future generations.

Western Long Island is unique to New York State in that our drinking water comes from a sole source aquifer, which is right below our feet.  Without open space, rain and snow cannot be absorbed into the earth to recharge our aquifer.

The North Shore Land Alliance estimates golf courses represent approximately 51% of the roughly 20,000 acres of open space that remains to be protected in the organization’s catchment area (the Queens/Nassau border extending to the Huntington/Smithtown border).  About 33% of this open space could be impacted by the proposed law.

Additionally, a Rauch Foundation study found that more than 60% of Nassau County is already paved over. Without open land to absorb harmful stormwater runoff before it reaches our beaches and bays, surface waters will also be compromised.

 Development of the lands owned by failed clubs would eliminate thousands of acres of open space critical to protecting both ground and surface waters.  As the preservation of golf courses are especially important to the environmental health of our community, the North Shore Land Alliance is working with NYS Senator Gaughran, other elected officials and organizations to protect local golf courses.