Open Space Planning

Open Space Banner

Inviting public comments

Please email comments on the Draft Town of Bethlehem Open Space Plan: Conservation Criteria Implementation to or call 518-439-4955 x 1106 by Friday, December 1st.  The final plan, incorporating the comments received, will be presented at the December 13th Town Board meeting.  As Bethlehem continues to grow and develop, it’s important to meet that growth with a strong understanding of our remaining open and natural spaces so that we are best able to wisely shape and balance the community as it inevitably changes.  If you live, work, or play in Bethlehem, you have a stake in how the community grows and changes – please join the open space conservation discussion!
Open space planning has been actively discussed in Bethlehem for over a decade. It was identified as a goal in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, and has been raised in Town Board discussions and by a number of advisory committees.  Due to interest in the community to learn more about open space planning we are providing links to the recent Town Board discussions and related documents. This page will be updated as further information becomes available.

Draft Open Space Conservation Values Maps – join in the discussion through the summer and fall!

At the June 14th Town Board meeting, a series of four Draft Open Space Conservation Values Maps were presented to kick off a public comment and discussion period through this summer and fall.  These maps will ultimately be analyzed to identify key open spaces in the community and to develop a composite open space conservation priority map and an open space plan (to be finalized late fall of 2017).  Take a look at the draft maps linked below and join in the open space discussion!  These maps will be displayed through the month of July at the Bethlehem Library, where there will be a comment box available.  Also, see Public Participation Dates section below for more ways to become involved.

Questions or comments about the Draft Open Space Conservation Values Maps?

  Please email us at:

See the presentation to the Town Board on June 14, 2017 to learn more about how these maps will inform the planning process.
Draft Community Character Value Map

Conservation Easement Exemption Program for Bethlehem Landowners with 5 or more acres of open space

  • The Conservation Easement Exemption Program, overseen by the 5 member Conservation Easement Review Board, is intended to conserve open space lands, help maintain the character of the Town, and provide financial incentives and assistance to those landowners willing to forego development and maintain open space. Property owners with five (5) or more acres of land who commit to conserving their land as open space for a minimum of 15 years (and up to perpetuity) can receive an exemption on their property assessment resulting in a reduction in property taxes corresponding to the length of their conservation commitment.  Landowner applications for the program are accepted on a rolling basis; if you own 5 or more acres in town, please consider applying.  The Planning Department is happy to answer any questions you may have (518-439-4955 x 1157).

Scenic Bethlehem Photo Survey

This summer, residents were asked to participate in a Scenic Bethlehem Photo Survey and we received over 300 photos of scenic and open places in town that are special to residents; examples may be viewed in the Scenic Bethlehem Photo Survey 2017 album on the town’s Facebook page,  These photos will be mapped as part of the town’s ongoing Open Space Planning efforts.  Thank you to all who participated.

The town has mapped a sample of the photos received through this public project. Click on the image on the right to view the general "scenic views" locations, as suggested by participants and sample photos.


Public Participation Dates for open space planning – we are looking for your input!

  • June 14th Town Board meeting (6:00 PM at Town Hall), a series of draft open space values maps will be presented to initiate a public comment period over the summer and fall.  After the presentation, these maps will also be available on this webpage for your review and comment.
  • July 1st – 31st at the Bethlehem Public Library

    The draft open space values maps will also be displayed for comment all month.
  • August 23 Town Board meeting

    Join us for a presentation of “Bethlehem’s Natural Areas and Wildlife” given by staff at the Hudson River Estuary Program.
  • August 5th at the Delmar Farmers Market

    - Visit us at the market’s community table, where town staff will have draft open space values maps available for comment and discussion.
  • September and October (October 12)

    : In the early fall, the town looks forward to active participation in two public workshops to be held in September and in October, where revised open space values maps will be used to develop the town’s open space plan.

Hudson Kayak Eco-tour

On August 10th, 2017, fourteen kayak and river enthusiasts paddled with Town Board member and ecologist, David VanLuven, on Bethlehem’s Vlomankill and the Hudson River to learn more about the waters and wildlife in our town, and how this relates to current open space planning. We had a beautiful night and saw a bald eagle, a green heron, an osprey and the waterfall on the Vlomankill. This free public event was very popular, so look for this to be a continuing environmental education activity in the future.Kayak Tour August 20, 2017

Recent Town documents regarding open space planning

Earlier Town documents and efforts

Examples of Open Space Plans

How can I enjoy Bethlehem’s open spaces and get involved?