The town has mulled changes to its comprehensive plan for so long that its proposed update now needs updating.
The draft plan produced in 2009 and then reworked in 2011 will again get a facelift in the coming weeks in an effort to bring it back up to date with changes that have occurred over the past three years.
Pat Bishop, chairwoman of the 11-member update committee, said the group will meet publicly for the second time this month so residents can discuss any suggestions toward changing elements in the 76-page draft plan.
Bishop, who also serves as Planning Board chairwoman, said the so-called melded plan produced by a five-member committee appointed under then-Supervisor Melanie Whiteley didn’t flow as well and had references to areas of the document that had been removed from the original draft. In contrast, she said, that original draft was produced with the help of a professional planner and with input from many stakeholders within the community.
“This Town Board couldn’t see any reason to go back to [the melded plan],” she said Tuesday. “The one we produced in 2009 was made with a methodology that is pretty universally accepted.”
The committee is slated to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall. Bishop said the hope is to gather additional input from residents and then hammer out an update before the end of the year, so the Town Board can adopt it in early 2013.
“We’ll go through it and we’ll update it,” she said.
Updating the plan also means the town will likely need to revisit some of the process that already occurred. Bishop said the Town Board will likely need to conduct several public hearings on the draft and then forward the finished copy for review by the Schenectady County Planning Department.
Bishop acknowledged there will be a degree of backtracking in moving forward with the new comprehensive plan, but she said none of it would have been necessary if the former Town Board simply tweaked the draft and adopted it, rather than appointing a new committee to give it an overhaul.
“If it had been adopted then, we wouldn’t be spending all this time,” she said.
The draft produced in 2009 proved to be contentious. Some said it painted a good picture of the town and added necessary safeguards to guide future development. Others blasted the draft, claiming it would add unnecessary layers of government that could prove costly to implement. When Whiteley took office in 2010, she resolved the conflicting opinions by referring the plan to the town’s Zoning Review Committee for comment and then later to another ad-hoc committee that was asked to merge it with the town’s outdated plan from 1988.
The result was a 55-page document that annoyed those who helped produce the original. The melded plan never got far in the approval process and ultimately fell to the wayside after Supervisor Michael Joyce narrowly beat Whiteley in 2011.