Comprehensive Plan DRAFT Vision Statement – Call for Comments

Please click on the link below to view:

Comprehensive Plan DRAFT Visioning Statement

We are also opening up comments on our News s

ystem to allow residents to leave comments directly here on our website.

To leave a comment simply click on “Add Comment” below, fill out the comment form and submit your comment. Comments will not be visible to the public on the website, but will be included by our Planning Consultant and incorporated into the final visioning document and available for review by contacting the Town Clerk.

More information about the comprehensive plan update:

Comprehensive Plan Update Webpage

About Mary Alex

Town Clerk, Town of Washington, NY
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10 Responses to Comprehensive Plan DRAFT Vision Statement – Call for Comments

  1. Stephen Kaye says:

    One can not purchase land “for open space” as using public funds for an undefined purpose would not be legitimate. Since no one knows what open space is, it is useless to talk about open space in planning documents. Such vague and undefinable terms are dangerous to use. One can protect farms, forests, critical environmental areas, specific habitats or perhaps specific landscapes of historic or scenic value, but not open space.

    The Dutchess Land Conservancy does not own land. It can own land, but typically doesn’t. It owns easements on land (Conservation Easements). Neither the ownership of land by the Conservancy nor ownership of easements affect the tax status of land for property tax purposes although the assessor may take into account the existence of easements. It is my impression that assessors in the town of Washington have not given consideration to the existence of an easement, although they are authorized to do so.

    It is time for the Comprehensive Planning Committee to get serious about how it proposes to deal with the land in the countryside. So far there have been vague statements about zoning, hamlets, and things that might be done to “encourage” certain uses in the countryside, but these statements are a long way from being policy formulations. Practically no data has been gathered, so most of the talk is talk in a vacuum. Without good data policy discussions are pointless.

    What action will be taken to gather data? What maps are on hand? What aerial photographs? What surveys will be prepared to measure what questions? Where, exactly, are the best soils for farming? Who is doing what on those soils? Where are the best landscapes? Where are the best forests? Where the best timber? Where are the most important wildlife habitats? Where are there rare and endangered species? Where are the water resources? What are the present housing densities in the various sectors of the town? What are the subsoil conditions? What is the carrying capacities of the land and soils? What is the capacity of soils for added density in areas already developed? How much water is available in the various sectors of the town? Where are the best farms? The best farmland?

    Without the answer to some if not most of these questions, aren’t we groping in the dark?

    On housing, we need answers: how many dwelling units are there in the town and in the village. How many are multi-family? How many apartments are there? How many condos? How many auxilliary apartments are there? How many vacancies are there? Numbers for the town and the village are needed.
    What is the present capacity of the Village water and wastewater systems? What percentage is currently used at various times of the year? What is the present housing supply? What is the present rate of absorption?
    Without data, we plan in the dark. Let there be light.

  2. mary says:

    Submitted by Howard Schuman

    It is inappropriate at this time to be asking for comments about your draft visioning statement, which was supposed to be the original topic of the May 22 public meeting but was never discussed in open forum. Regarding the content and wording, you are for all practical purposes asking the general public to operate in a vacuum, without any explanation by yourselves as to what you believe the statement implies.

    Are you suggesting by your language in the comment form that if people do not respond to it in one of the several ways that you suggested, that it signals their tacit acceptance of your draft visioning statement and there will be no “revisions to the statement as appropriate” and that there will be no future, widely advertised, public meetings, similar to the May 22 meeting in order to discuss it?

    The vision statement should reflect the general consensus of the community at large. Housing issues and increased business and commercial development as well as creation of additional hamlets have placed at the bottom of community priorities. The final vision statement should reflect that.

    Regarding the May 22 meeting, the term “diversity of housing” had been added to the previously published list of goals without prior notice being given to the public. This along with the Comprehensive Plan Committee’s failure to define what they mean by the term makes it a difficult item for people to comment on effectively.

    Furthermore, there is a difference between what a community envisions for itself and a list of items that may be looked at at some point as part of the comprehensive plan process. It is clear that diversity of housing is not a widely held community vision. While it may be something that is looked at in some point as part of the overall process it does not belong in the vision statement. It should be removed.

    Howard Schuman

  3. eve propp says:

    The draft vision statement is very brief but not to any EXACT point. What does HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE mean? What does CAREFULLY managed development mean? Who will be doing the managing? What is a VIBRANT business? I can think of some we might not want. Look & feel to one may be different to another. What is a STRONG relationship?
    I envision much confusion from this statement.

  4. mary says:

    Submitted by Aline Manzi, Millbrook, NY
    Jan 17, 2011

    I cannot be present at your next public meeting, so I offer my questions about the wordings in your draft of the Vision Statement. The Statement requires careful attention to wordings so in future, as others take over the functions, nothing could be misinterpreted from the desires of the community currently designing the statement.

    These are the three points:

    Vibrant and Diverse Local Business (Product, services, jobs, support tax base) – This could be interpreted to mean people want the town to develop additional business hamlets and other commercial areas in the town. The Vision Statement list already mentions Millbrook Village as the commercial center of the town – which is what most residents have already expressed as their desire.

    Carefully Managed Development Designed to Stabilize Your Taxes – The town Survey clearly showed that the majority of residents do not want “development” in the town. They prefer to keep Millbrook a rural community. Who would manage “development” and how would it possibly stabilize taxes? We are concerned why we have to keep repeatedly addressing the concept of development when it is not a priority of the majority of the people in this town.

    A Healthy Diversity of Housing – Our village already provides us with a significant supply of diverse housing. The town Survey and subsequent meetings have shown that this kind of growth is not a priority to us. The inclusion of this statement would mean that our community wishes to declare, as part of its mandate for the future, a desire for the town to encourage housing growth. This could mean anything from town houses and condos, to high density tract development and manufactured homes, and everything in between. This inappropriate statement should not be in a vision statement for a community that hopes to remain rural.

    Do we want our taxes to increase? – One item which is sorely missing from this list for the Vision Statement is the fiscal impact of any changes to the present status of the town. Growth does not pay for itself. High taxes are often the result. This important issue of financial responsibility, ignored in the vision statement to date, should be include. It is very important.

    Please remember that a Vision Statement is what the MAJORITY of the community wants for its future. It helps community leaders and planners develop the zoning regulations in the next step of the Comprehensive Plan Process. Let’s make sure that our town officials understand what kind of town we want in the future. It is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our families!

  5. Tony Sloan says:

    To the Comprehensive Plan Committee:

    I submit two different items for your consideration
    for use in your February 5th meeting.

    They are the following:

    1. A vision statement, attached.

    2. Three additional “elements” for the rating process.
    Those three recommended elements are:




    Thanks, and looking forward to the 5th.

    Tony Sloan

  6. Tony Sloan says:

    A Vision for the Town of Washington, New York

    Rural character: It defines our landscape just as it did in 1950 and even 2011. Wooded hills and vast tracts of farmland remain visual delights and the farms themselves con- tinue as economic engines. Equestrian pursuits are important as ever. Riding trails, running through the properties of many landowners, are another indication of a shared rural life.

    If the hills and valleys of the area are stunning and the farms productive, the roads of this town are the perfect complement. Still two-lane, they too remain rural in form and func- tion.

    One highly distinctive aspect of this landscape is the clear edge between rural town and developed village. Rather than a suburban blur between the two, open farmland comes right up to the cluster that is the village. There is indeed an edge.

    The village of Millbrook has greatly benefited from the rural focus of the Town’s com- prehensive plan. It remains, as intended in the Town’s 1987 master plan, the economic and cultural center of the area. The village thrives as a compact, walkable community. Residential neighborhoods abut the business district. And much effort has gone into making the village a pleasant and affordable center to work, shop and reside.

    This vision is both sustainable and fiscally responsible. Indeed, these aspects reinforce each other. By keeping the town rural and strengthening the village as the area’s eco- nomic center, the vision works to avoid sprawl. That, in turn, safeguards natural re- sources and, as it lessens reliance on the automobile, lowers local greenhouse gas emissions. Fiscally, avoiding sprawl avoids the costs of sprawl, such as widened roads and expanded water-sewer infrastructure. For the taxpayer, that’s a win.

    This vision is robust: By not committing to sprawl and its costs, this vision retains options for dealing with different circumstances in the future.

    Achieving this vision is, in no small measure, the result of a collaboration involving Town, Village and, so very much, the entire community.

  7. Aline Manzi says:

    On the visioning statement, I wish to add a couple of thoughts to my previous input which was emailed, since I can no longer attend public meetings:

    1) Every proposed project must include financial assessment, the effect on taxpayers.

    2) On affordable housing, one of my neighbors always has a for-rent sign out for his apartments.

    3) Four of my immediate neighbors have chronic basement flooding problems.

    4) From my front window I can see two condo/town house developments and a new school. When we built the house it was all a wooded area, which we preferred but were given no choice.

    Thank you for careful thinking.

    Aline Manzi, Church St. at Manzi Drive.

  8. Aline Manzi says:

    On the visioning statement, I wish to add a couple of thoughts to my previous input which was emailed, since I can no longer attend public meetings:

    1) Every proposed project must include financial assessment, the effect on taxpayers.

    2) On affordable housing, one of my neighbors always has a for-rent sign out for his apartments.

    3) Four of my immediate neighbors have chronic basement flooding problems.

    4) From my front window I can see two condo/town house developments and a new school. When we built the house it was all a wooded area, which we preferred but were given no choice.

    Thank you for careful thinking.

    Aline Manzi, Church St. at Manzi Drive.

  9. Stan C. Morse says:

    To: Town of Washington Comprehensive Plan Committee
    Subject: Vision Statement – Stan Morse version submitted for consideration

    Embedded below, and respectfully submitted for your consideration, is a suggested version of a Vision Statement for the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Update from 1987.
    This statement covers the major topics under consideration and is less than 100 words in length.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Stan C. Morse
    P.O. Box 1437
    Millbrook, N.Y. 12545


    We envision the Town of Washington will remain a rural community with great scenic beauty, a healthy, natural environment, and a high quality of life for its residents.
    We envision protecting our Township through carefully managed development, ensuring that our working farms, beautiful landscapes and habitat for our plants and animals are preserved for the future.
    We believe in managing our fiscal house carefully. We believe in having a vibrant and diverse local business community, and we are aware of our history and its importance in preserving the look and feel of our community.
    SCM 1/7/2011

  10. Thank you Stan. I hope you will read this aloud at the workshop.