Assemblymember Kelles, Senator Helming, Local Officials, Call on Governor Hochul to Cancel the Proposed Public Auction by NYSEG of the Bell Station Property on Cayuga Lake

This week, Assemblymember Anna R. Kelles (D-125) and Senator Pamela Helming (R-54) wrote to Governor Kathy Hochul to ask for her "urgent help preserving an undeveloped stretch of Cayuga Lake. Bell Station is a remarkable, 470-acre property featuring 3,400 feet of pristine shoreline on the east side of Cayuga Lake. The property was originally acquired by New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) for a power plant that was never built. Bell Station features wooded hillsides, cascading waterfalls, extensive fields currently leased for agriculture, and several tributaries to the lake.

"Acquisition of the site for conservation will greatly enhance public access to the east side of Cayuga Lake, which is 90% privately owned," wrote Kelles and Helming. "Permanent conservation of the property will also prevent additional residential development on the steep hillsides above the lake, development that would likely contribute significantly to increased erosion and to the lake's harmful algal blooms (HABs). Given that Cayuga Lake already has the highest prevalence of HABs outbreaks in the Finger Lakes, allowing for further increased risk is unwise both for our ecology and for the agritourism industry that is a bedrock of our local economy."

"In order to preserve this rare stretch of undeveloped land for the enjoyment of New Yorkers and the preservation of our natural resources," continued Kelles and Helming, "we urge you to request that NYSEG cancel its auction and instead enter into transparent negotiations with the Land Trust, as agent for the NYSDEC. This will offer an opportunity for NYSEG and the State to ensure the future of this unique stretch of Cayuga Lake shoreline."

On September 7, 2021 the Tompkins County Legislature adopted a Resolution Opposing the Proposed Public Auction of Certain Property on the Eastern Shore of Cayuga Lake by the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation.

The Lansing Town Board noted "There are few public access points on Cayuga Lake, as approximately 90% of the shoreline is privately owned. Bell Station would be a great benefit to our state residents if conserved as a future State Wildlife Management area or other venue allowing community access. It would also be a crucial connection to Cayuga Lake as part of the Blueway Trail, enhancing access by water and lake to this valuable conservation resource. However, the risk of development is now high.

Ithaca's Mayor Svante Myrick and Common Council wrote, "The public and NYSEG ratepayers would be best served by conserving this property while paying NYSEG a fair price for the land. We request that you cancel the public auction and return to discussions with the FLLT and DEC and explore this opportunity to conserve this unique property on our treasured Cayuga Lake."