The Town of Gardiner remains on schedule to adopt an updated Comprehensive Plan following a two-hour special meeting with consultant David Church on Sept. 17.
During the two-hour morning meeting in Town Hall, the five-member board discussed making some minor changes to the 45-page draft document. A handful of people watched the session on Zoom and two members of the public made comments at the end of the meeting.
Although board members agreed there was still work to be done to meet their goal of adopting the new plan by the end of 2021, there seemed to be general agreement that Church had hit the mark with his research.
“My overview of this draft is that it’s very good work,” board member Warren Wiegand said. “Very thorough. A lot of new ideas and also a fresh look at old ideas. I think it’s very impressive.”
According to the town’s schedule under its Procedural Plan, Church will incorporate some of the board’s latest suggestions and provide a draft of the preliminary plan by Sept. 30 and it will be posted on the town’s website. He will also complete an Environmental Assessment Form and submit the Comprehensive Plan to the Ulster County Planning Board for its review and comment.
Then a public hearing will be scheduled for Oct. 19.
Supervisor Marybeth Majestic said it was very important to hear the public’s comments on the updated version of the Comprehensive Plan. It is the first update to it since 2004.
Majestic earlier said she was “very impressed” with the public engagement that occurred when the public was invited to comment via a town-wide mailing to 2,600 individuals in May.
Approximately 70 separate invitations were also sent to farmers and property owners inviting them to comment on the plan directly or to attend a July special meeting to discuss agriculture in the town.
In addition to in-person meetings with the Gardiner Senior Resource Committee and with farmers and property owners, other interviews were conducted via Zoom or phone-in options with official Town boards and committees.
Over two dozen individual written comments were received.
A town’s Comprehensive Plan helps guide decisions and investments. Its goals are intended to shape the overall pattern of development so that it conforms to the vision for the Town of Gardiner.
Though progress continues to be made to finalize the new Comprehensive Plan, the board agreed it still has a lot of work to do on Chapter 3 of the document. That section presents Goals and Recommendations in the areas of land use, resource protection/open space, economic development/community development, community infrastructure and services and agriculture.
The new plan has added a section on agriculture, stating that it represents “the importance of this land use and economic sector to the Town.”
Majestic met a group of farmers and property owners at Majestic Park to gather their feedback about the new Comprehensive Plan, which they were happy to share.
“A comment that one of the farmers made was that if we really value our farmland, we have to work with our farmers,” Majestic said, noting that more review of Chapter 3 is necessary.
“I think Chapter 3 deserves much more attention,” Wiegand agreed.