Town, Village review Comprehensive Plan status

Main Street gets new sidewalks on Monday, June 3, a project identified as a goal of the Comprehensive Plan.

Christine Bates

Town, Village review Comprehensive Plan status

MILLERTON — Progress made by the Town of North East and the Village of Millerton to achieve the goals of the 2019 Comprehensive Plan was reviewed at a special meeting of the Town Board on Thursday, May 30.

The North East Town Board, Village Mayor Jenn Najdek and members of the Town’s Zoning Review Committee and residents collaborated in a discussion that evaluated actions taken since the Comprehensive Plan was adopted 4 1/2 years ago.

The plan was created with involvement of residents, business leaders and elected and appointed officials as a policy document to guide future decisions about growth, regulations and capital improvements. The overarching goal was to prioritize “economic and environmental resiliency” in a time of climate disruption.

“It’s a good time to look back at the plan, and its contents and goals, and to see what we have done and if it’s consistent or not,” said Town Supervisor Chris Kennan.

The plan lists actions that the Town and the Village could take over a decade or more, and categorized them as short-, medium- and long-term initiatives.

Edie Greenwood, chair of the Town’s Zoning Review Committee, which currently is completing a review of zoning in the Town’s commercial district, said the Comprehensive Plan guided the committee in its work.

The group reviewed the status of certain goals that were considered high priority in 2019.

Community Calendar

The consensus regarding this goal was to collaborate with the Village and the NorthEast-Millerton Library “to see what we can do to create a community calendar,” Kennan said.

Form new committees

One of the Plan’s goal is to form new committees as outlined in the plan. The group endorsed this strategy but also commented on the the challenge finding people who are willing to volunteer.

Town/Village meeting

Mayor Najdek and Supervisor Kennan were fully open to holding a joint public meeting in the future and to make it an interactive event.

“I’m all for it,” Najdek said.

Communication goals

Kennan, noting that no single mode of communication to reach a community can succeed, pointed to updated websites, especially for the Village, and the Town’s newsletter, which is sent to 350 email addresses.

Recreation, events

Mayor Najdek said the Village’s new recreation director will help organize events and activities, including a summer program for children at the park set to start in July.

Townscape also was mentioned, along with the North East Community Center, the library and the Millerton Business Alliance as contributing to meeting the Plan’s goals.

Major strides

Kennan lauded the work completed to date on engineering studies for the wastewater project and said that while financing remains to be achieved, the Village and the Town have made significant progress.

“The engineering work completed already moves us farther than many other communities I’ve talked to,” Kennan said.

The 2019 plan calls for improvements to the downtown sidewalks, and Mayor Najdek noted that with one side of Main Street completed, work was scheduled to begin this week on the north side of Main from Dutchess Avenue to the crosswalk in front of the library.

The Comprehensive Plan calls for ongoing improvements at Eddie Collins Park. Phase I was completed in 2022 after a $2.2 million renovation, and Phase II is designed to include a pool, bathhouse and community room.

“Five years ago we established the goals for Eddie Collins Park, for sewers and for sidewalk upgrades,” Kennan said. “That’s another check mark.”

The Plan is a large document that covers a range to topics from 5G wireless installation to parking-lot planning, along with housing, including affordable housing, zoning, agricultural matters such as “right to farm,” climate matters, and viewsheds, to name a few.

Kennan pointed to the plaque on the wall in the back of the Town Hall meeting room signifying Climate Smart Bronze certification, thanks to the North East/Millerton Climate Smart Communities task force.

One observation from the group was an assumption that many residents probably are unaware of the Comprehensive Plan.

Kathleen Spahn, who recently moved to the Village, told the group, “As a newcomer to town, I have to say that I was doing research on where to land and one of the things that I noticed in Millerton and North East was the existence of both the Comprehensive Plan and the climate task force, so I think that they’re big selling points for the area.”

In New York, the state legislature first enacted statutes that gave definition to Comprehensive Plans. “The comprehensive plan identifies what the community looks like now, what it should look like in the future (goals, objectives, principles), how the community intends to get there (regulatory standards, devices and legal instruments) and why it should be done (protection, preservation, conservation, enhancement, growth and development),” according to a legal memorandum issued by New York’s Department of State.

The Comprehensive Plan can be found at: www.townofnortheastny.gov/comprehensive-plan-2019.

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