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Washingtonville - Village Tackles Key Comprehensive Plan Items

Last Thursday evening the Village's Comprehensie Plan Committee tackled a handful of items of utmost importance. Also, it followed a lengthy discussion of the Architectural Review Board with representatives from main offices of Sunoco who are planning a major upgrade to the gas station on Main Street., saying "We want to "Refreshth e entire site." The ARB emphasized that there are numerous isues about the plan, including size, colors, lighting style, lumens and the number of signs. The Building Department weighed in that some of the changes made years ago were done on permits that were never fully cleaared, and this could impact their ability to "grandfather" elements of design. Being extremely particular, board members even wanted to know what shade of gray would be on poles, and even asked the to send swatches, since the color in computer printouts tends to vary. This application clearly has quite far to go before any approval.

As for the Comprehensive Plan members, first on the list, first and foremost is the need for more members to tackle these critical issues. The Village currently has a Moratorium in place while they revisit what zoning and code issues can be implemented be protect its historic village character and still allow business to grow. Only 3 current committee members were present. It was not enough to vote on any resolutions. They are hoping that it was a matter of end-of-Summer getaways. But the lengthy meeting made the most of the times Planner Bonnie Franson of Nelson Pope, Voorhis spent nearly an hour teaching what could have been a graduate level course in how the invaluable County and State's extensive mapping systems can be used to effectively design corridors for shopping, small businesses and housing along the streets leading into the Village Center while adding some additional protection for historic buildings and homes, open space and agricultural land. It is no small feat, especially considering that each map has 'submaps' and a wealth of connections. With her many years of experience, Franson had a dozen or so priceless suggestions, and emphasized to committee members the importance of getting familiar with these systems. However, the meeting did not lag, with simple discussions mixed in.

With the benefit of having a strict moratorium currently in place, Franson emphasized the critical importance of incorporating whatever changes the villagers want before the Moratorium ends. Knowing how to read and adjust draft copies of these maps can make or break the success of their goals.

Like other communities they decided that a survey of what village residents want will be a good first step. In fact, they want to do both a preliminary survey and a more extensive one later. They liked a technique Bonnie and her Associate Planner Sam presented where residents would be invited to a workshop and would be given color coded push pins. With several detailed maps on the the wall of Village Hall, they could choose the properties they feel are the most important to protect. This will help them focus on priorities as the Plan comes together. Committee members recommended that unlike many other municipalities they would prefer having at least several colored pins, as well as several map highlighting different areas of the Village, each villager choosing their sites in priority order..

This meeting, as all Comprehensivve Plan Committee meetings are, was open to the public. But tere were only 2 in the audience who attended. The Committee strongly suggests that residents attend these meetings if they have concetrns about future Building and Zoning.

One top priority, in order to preserve land, scenic views, agriculture and historic character of the Village, is that they will look at better use of land preservation techniques, including agricultural purchase of development rights, involvement of the New York Land Trust, and potential longterm outright purchase of land via bonds.

Lastly, there was a short discussion about the potential benefits and costs of increasing "Shared Services" with the Town. There have been grants available to other municipalities to do these studies, and Trustee Donna Jacaruso is going to do some research..

We thank and appreciate our business partners

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