Chester supervisor vows land purchase is part of preservation effort

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Statements made by the Chester town supervisor in regard to a recent land purchase are stirring up controversy Friday.

Supervisor Alex Jamieson announced that the town is buying the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center. In an article published by the Times Herald-Record, Jamieson is quoted as saying the town made the purchase to "keep the Hasidic out."  Jamieson maintains he said the town purchased the land to preserve as much property as it can so the town can stay the same.

Jamieson tells News 12 that he told the reporter the purchase was to preserve the rural character of Chester. He says the reporter asked him if it was to keep the Hasidics out. That's when Jamieson says he told the reporter "well if we purchase the property, that's going to keep them out."

"I didn't say we were buying it to keep them out," says Jamieson.

According to Jamieson, the $1 million sale is the first of four properties the town hopes to buy to prevent residential development. Chester is also eyeing two pieces of farmland on Laroe Road and another 26-acre property on Route 94.

"We have visions for what we want to do with these properties," says Jamieson. "We're not just buying properties to shoot from the hip."

The town's land grab comes only months after construction broke ground at the Greens at Chester, where a 431-home Hasidic community is being built.

An editor for the Times Herald-Record tells News 12 that the reporter didn't record the interview, but that the publication stands by its reporting.

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