GLENVILLE — A three-year effort to overhaul and update this growing town's land-use plan — an official vision of what the town might look like in a decade or two — is nearing completion.
The Town Board has set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, and could adopt the plan either that evening or later in the month, depending on the comments received, said Town Councilman James Martin, the Town Board's liaison to the town planning process.
The draft plan would be the first update to the land-use plan in more than a quarter-century.
The plan calls for a range of new initiatives, many of which have been discussed in recent years, as the plan has been developed through a series of public meetings and hearings. They include efforts to keep the West Glenville area rural and promote agricultural-tourism businesses along Route 5 in that area, while encouraging new mixed-use and light industrial development along the busy Freeman's Bridge Road corridor.
"It's a growing town; it's a changing town like all communities, but this really addresses how do we maintain our character and still allow for progress," Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said. "That's the balancing act."
The eastern half of the town is predominantly suburban-residential and commercial, while the western half of town is rural — an arrangement town officials said they want to keep. Several development moratoriums have been in place for the past two years to prevent unwanted development, while the plan was being developed.
"I think it's clear that residents and the (comprehensive plan) committee and the Town Board have gotten into agreement that we want to keep single-family areas single-family, commercial areas commercial, and the rural areas the way they are," Koetzle said.
He said the effort took three years because most of the work was done by a volunteer citizens committee, working with town staff, versus having a private planning consultant develop the plan at what would have been a higher cost. Development controversies in West Glenville and Alplaus also slowed the plan review, Koetzle said.
"It's a meaty document," Koetzle said. "There were 14 public meetings. We took the public input component seriously."
The town comprehensive plan hasn't been updated since 1990, and a significant amount of commercial and housing development has occurred since then, including the arrival of Wal-Mart and Lowe's along Freeman's Bridge Road and redevelopment of several sites in the town center area, around Glenridge Road and Route 50. A study focused on future development of Freeman's Bridge Road is already underway.
Other priorities include repairing the biking-hiking trail between Glenville and Scotia and continuing to promote private development at the Schenectady County Airport and in the Glenville Business and Technology Park along Route 5.
“I’m very proud of the members of the community who worked on this plan, and I want to extend heartfelt appreciation to our staff who worked on this," Martin said. "Nothing could be more indicative of the community coming together and learning about itself.”
Koetzle said the Town Board will move almost immediately to the next step, assuming the plan is adopted: forming a committee that will work to review the town zoning code to make it consistent with the comprehensive plan. He said parts of the town code haven't been updated since the 1940s.