Final Draft Comprehensive Plan Published

The Comprehensive Plan Committee has released their final draft comprehensive plan which has is posted on the Minutes & Updates page and HERE.

Posted in Comprehensive Plan | Comments Off

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

Posted in Comprehensive Plan | 10 Comments

TOWN BOARD WORKSHOP TO DISCUSS DRAFT PLAN SUBMITTED BY THE COMMITTEE

The Town Board will hold its second workshop meeting on October 25, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Town Hall located at 10 Reservoir Drive in the Village of Millbrook. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Posted in General | Comments Off

Revised Goal 3 – Agriculture & Environmental Protection

Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan Goals, Policies and Recommendations

DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting 1

GOAL 3: Protect land, water, and the natural environment. 1.

A. Objectives

Conserve rural lands: farms and agricultural soils, forests, hillsides and open space. 2.

Protect groundwater, aquifers, wetlands, floodplains and waterways. 3.

Protect natural habitats, biodiversity, and sensitive environmental areas. B. Background, Subcommittee Observations and Comments

1.

Background Preservation of Agriculture was a central goal in the Town’s last Comprehensive Plan. Currently there are 114 parcels of agricultural land comprising 12,990 acres or 36.7% of total acres in the Town of Washington (second highest behind residential uses in the land use categories). According to the assessor’s database, 37.4% of agricultural land is in cattle farms followed by horse farms (17.8%) and field crops (12.6%). No agricultural acreage was lost between 1986 and 2008. Prime agricultural soils comprise approximately 20% of the Town and represent an irreplaceable resource.

In charging the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee, the Town Board observed that between adoption of the 1987 Master Plan and the present, the primary issue has shifted from protection of agriculture to protection of surface and groundwater quality and quantity, and that the development of an overall water quality protection strategy is central to the comprehensive planning effort.

2.

Sub-Committee Conclusions Although the number of acres of farmland has remained stable, the nature of farming has changed from larger production farms to smaller specialty and hobby farms. The land use subcommittee observed that the increasing level of taxation, inheritance tax rates, and personal tax and succession situations are driving larger farmers to consider selling or subdividing land. As many subcommittees observed, nearly half of the Town’s land is owned by fewer than 50 landowners. The actions of a few owners could put the Town’s agricultural base and rural character at risk. The Economy Subcommittee observed that since the last master plan, farm services/services to farmers (such as machinery equipment repairs and markets to sell products) has declined in the Town of Washington, which has hastened the

Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan Goals, Policies and Recommendations DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting

2 departure of dairy farms in the area. They concluded that the Town should plan to remain largely a rural, open area that retains its agricultural economic base and serves as an aesthetic and recreational amenity to the Village and the County as a whole.

The Environmental Resources Committee identified prime agricultural soils, open space protection and biodiversity as important environmental resources in Washington. Almost all of the water used in the Town is groundwater and its protection is critical to land use stability. There are several potential threats to groundwater in the Town including the proposed Bennett College housing development and the Transfer Station (formerly a dump).

The subcommittee also felt strongly that the Town should protect the watershed of the Village’s water supply, in addition to the Town’s own watershed). The Community Services subcommittee observed that a supplemental pumping station should be considered.

3.

Survey Input a. Survey respondents favor agriculture actions:

95% preserving agricultural character b. Survey respondents favor land water and habitat actions:

98% protecting water supply and aquifers Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting

3  

 64% supporting wind energy

70% purchasing open space C. Policies and Recommendations

1. Objective: Conserve rural lands: farms and agricultural soils, forests, hillsides and open space.

i. Identify, manage and protect sensitive environmental areas on an ongoing basis to protect natural resources.

ii. Permit traditional rural land use patterns and development densities that contribute to scenic beauty and natural diversity of the Town while avoiding the disruption of scenic vistas, viewsheds and corridors, ridgelines, natural areas, steep slopes, and historic resources. Continually review zoning and land management tools to help achieve this development pattern.

iii. Actively promote the establishment of conservation easements and the use of conservation subdivisions, clustering and buffering in scenic and natural areas including steep slopes and ridgelines. Consider offering a density bonus to the clustering provision.

iv. Support the use of sustainable timbering best practices to prevent fragmentation of forest lands.

v. Protect areas sensitive to erosion and sedimentation. Direct development away from steep slopes to prevent adverse impacts. Require appropriate control measures for areas where development will disturb soils.

vi. Preserve the maximum amount of agricultural land in large blocks for farm use. Direct growth and municipal capital and infrastructure improvements to suitable non-agricultural areas or areas of marginal agricultural soils and discourage development of productive agricultural areas and prime agricultural soils.

vii. Support a variety of farm types and farm businesses such as niche farming, micro-farming, cooperatives and value-added agricultural

Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting

4  

facilities. Support the use of farm-scale alternate energy (such as a wind turbine).

viii. Support other working uses that complement the rural landscape, such as honey production and maple sugaring, for example, which allow landowners to generate income.

ix. Cooperate with organizations that preserve open space and support agriculture such as the Dutchess Land Conservancy, the American Farmland Trust, the Audubon Society, hunt clubs, Rockefeller, Cary/IES, and private schools.

x. Encourage farmers, non-farmers owning farmland, and the public to participate in local land use decisions affecting agriculture.

xi. Use input from the Farmland Protection Committee to advise the various boards and officers of the Town on matters pertaining to the preservation, promotion, and ongoing operation of agricultural activity in the Town of Washington.

xii. Review policies and make amendments where necessary to ensure compliance with New York State Agriculture and Market law.

b. Recommendations

i. Review and expand allowed uses for farm businesses. Allow farmers to extract a controlled amount of non-renewable resources like sand, topsoil and gravel as an additional revenue stream.

ii. Support efforts to by farmers to add value to local products through storing, processing, and packaging products more efficiently, including by creating or locating new agriculture support businesses.

iii. Review and revise, as necessary, zoning, subdivision, the existing Agricultural Protection Overlay District and clustering provisions and other land use tools to direct development away from prime agricultural soils.

Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting

5  

iv. Support marketing and distribution for local farm products in the region and nearby urban areas through buy-local initiatives. Provide support to local farmers markets and farm stands providing locally grown produce, meats, and other products to residents and visitors.

v. Consider development of a voluntary Purchase of Agricultural Easement Program to acquire future development rights.

vi. Consider adoption of a Community Preservation Act. The act would provide for a real estate transfer fee of up to two percent of the sale price of real property to fund the establishment and preservation of parks, nature preserves, recreational areas, open spaces, agricultural areas, wetlands and marshes, watershed areas, waterbodies, forest lands, historic places and wildlife habitat. The first task in this process is production and adoption of a Community Preservation Plan.

vii. Evaluate the cost/benefit of providing additional tax incentives for working farmers and owners of conserved agricultural land. Consider use of a term easement abatement approach which provides tax abatement in exchange for protection of the agricultural, open space, or historical values of land or buildings. The easement is created for a specific period of time (for example 5 to 20 years) and the landowner’s taxes are abated (for example by 30%, 50% or 80% for differing terms) for this period in compensation for the term conservation easement.

viii. Develop a Steep Slopes Protection Plan/Overlay to control development, minimize erosion and preserve the natural scenic beauty of prominent hillsides, viewsheds and ridgelines.

2. Objective: Protect groundwater, aquifers, wetlands, floodplains and waterways.

i. Monitor the quality and quantity of Town groundwater supplies in order to take remedial action when necessary.

ii. Minimize disturbance to wetlands, waterbodies, watercourses to protect groundwater quality and quantity.

Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting

6  

iii. Promote compatible land uses over existing aquifer and recharge areas to minimize runoff and potential sources of contamination.

iv. Restore and maintain broad buffer zones of natural vegetation along streams, shores, wetlands, and around the perimeter of other sensitive habitats.

v. Manage storm water runoff by preventing erosion, using proper landscaping and site management (including use of native plants).

vi. Limit or prohibit subsurface sewage disposal systems adjacent to wetlands and watercourses.

vii. Minimize the area of impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, roof surfaces) and maximize onsite runoff retention and infiltration to help protect groundwater recharge and surface water quality and flows.

viii. Do not allow changes that impede the movement floodwaters. Coordinate with adjacent communities to assure that floodplain management practices do not shift the flood hazard to adjacent communities.

ix. Direct growth and development to areas where the threat of flood damage to property of Town residents is limited. Do not allow construction of valuable or vulnerable structures in the floodplain.

c. Recommendations

i. Develop a system to monitor ground water quantity and quality.

ii. Prepare a build out analysis to establish appropriate development densities based upon availability of water and carrying capacity of infrastructure.

iii. Develop appropriate siting criteria and performance standards to promote sound development over aquifers and recharge areas.

iv. Evaluate the need to develop a backup or emergency pumping station.

Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting

7  

v. Establish a standard for septic treatment maintenance for new and existing buildings based upon the density of population in a given area.

vi. Develop and adopt a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and Illicit Discharge Prevention Plan.

vii. Adopt and enforce floodplain management measures within existing zoning, subdivision or building ordinances. Encourage the development of conservation easements along the remaining privately held and unprotected floodplains in the Town.

viii. Manage stormwater by requiring the installation and maintenance of stormwater retention and detention basins in proposed development sites and adjacent to floodplains.

3. Objective: Protect natural habitats, biodiversity, and sensitive environmental areas.

b. Policies

i. Protect regionally rare habitats including those listed by Hudsonia including circumneutral bog lakes, fens and calcareous meadows, kettle shrub pools (used by threatened Blanding’s turtle, and crest, ledge and talus turtle).

ii. Direct development to protect and buffer large and high quality areas of contiguous forest, areas of contiguous meadow, and high quality habitat complexes.

iii. Promote redevelopment of previously altered sites, “infill” development, and reuse of existing structures wherever possible.

iv. Protect or restore corridors of undeveloped land between habitat patches, fauna migration corridors, and habitats associated with resources of special economic, public health, or aesthetic importance to the Town.

v. Restore degraded habitats wherever possible, but do not use restoration projects as a license to destroy high-quality habitats.

Town of Washington, New York Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations DRAFT – Goal 3: Agriculture & Environmental Protection – 7-25-11 Committee Meeting

8  

vi. Continually educate the public about habitat and biodiversity in partnership with local environmental organizations.

vii. Work closely with the Cary Institute and Hudsonia to better use scientific information to assess and minimize environmental impacts.

viii. Coordinate Town actions that effect the environment with those of nearby municipalities.

c. Recommendations

i. Consider formal New York State designation of Critical Environmental Areas. Use the Townwide Habitat Map prepared by Hudsonia which provides a landscape perspective to prioritize areas for protection and identify sites for new development where the ecological impact will be minimized.

ii. Develop a Lyme disease and tick borne disease prevention plan through education, controlling deer population, and reducing tick habitat as possible

. b. Policies

a. Policies

 94% protecting stream corridors

 94% protecting of scenic views and ridgelines

 91% protecting forest areas

 90% protecting wetlands

 90% protecting wildlife habitat

 89% using zoning to protect critical environmental areas

 86% using incentives for private land conservation

 78% supporting solar energy

 92% protecting agriculture from the impacts of development

 90% working to support local farm products

 90% supporting agricultural based businesses

 87% supporting community supported agriculture

 81% supporting niche agriculture

 81% increasing farmer representation on local boards

 74% purchasing development rights to preserve working farms

Posted in General | 1 Comment

Revised Goal 6 Governance & Fiscal Responsibility

 

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan Goals, Policies and Recommendations  

CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11 1

GOAL 6: Govern with openness and fiscal responsibility. 1.

 

A. Objectives

Govern openly with the fullest possible public participation. 2.

Maintain ongoing communication and cooperation around shared interests and issues between the Town and Village planning efforts. 3.

Hold down taxes as much as possible. 4.

Be careful spending the Town’s Money. 5.

Think globally, be engaged regionally and plan locally within our vision. 6.

Develop a long term planning program that tracks progress. B. Background, Subcommittee Observations and Comments

1.

Background and Observations a.

The Town of Washington is governed by an elected Town Supervisor and Town Board (five members total including the Town Supervisor). Town departments include: Town Clerk (an elected position), Justice Court, Highway Department (Highway Superintendent is also an elected position), Planning Department, Zoning Department, Tax Assessors Office, Tax Office, and Recreation Commission. b.

There are approximately 35 full and part-time employees, with a significant increase during the summer to manage the various recreational programs offered by the Town. c.

The Town has four boards and a commission: Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Assessment Review, and Conservation Advisory Commission. d.

Washington is served almost entirely by individual on-lot wells (excluding the Village of Millbrook). There are some portions of the south Millbrook area that are connected to the Village water system. Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

2  

e.

Almost all properties are served almost exclusively by private on-lot septic systems (excluding the Village of Millbrook). f.

Washington replaced its Town landfill with the Transfer Station in 1993. g.

The Town has access to two public recreational facilities: Town of Washington Park, and the Village Hall Gymnasium. h.

The community is served by the Millbrook Fire Department and Rescue Squad under contract with the Village of Millbrook. i.

Washington does not provide any law enforcement functions. The Town employs two constables who are utilized primarily for court room duty. Police responses in the Town of Washington are handled either by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department or the New York State Police at the discretion of the Dutchess County Emergency Response Center. 2.

Comments Received Residents have commented, in many different ways, in the visioning workshops, action planning workshop and vision statement workshop that “taxes are too high.” Note: the survey did not ask questions about governance.

C. Policies and Recommendations

1.

Objective: Govern openly with the fullest possible public participation. i. Promote open dialogue with all residents and seek out the maximum amount of involvement in public decisions, including renters and weekend or seasonal homeowners.

b.

Recommendations i. For the convenience of the public, adjust Town hall hours, put codes and ordinances online, and consider putting Town meetings on television or YouTube linked from the Town’s website. Use social networking sites to educate residents about the unique aspects of

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

3  

Washington’s environment, scenic resources, farming, and historic preservation through partnerships with local groups, advocacy organizations and or local schools.

2. Objective: Maintain ongoing communication and cooperation around shared interests and issues between the Town and Village planning efforts.

i. Develop shared plan element to be included in each community’s comprehensive plan.

ii. Evaluate all options to reduce the cost of municipal expenses by evaluating all opportunities to share or consolidate services with the Village, the School Districts, the County or surrounding communities.

b. Recommendations

i. Apply for a grant from the State of New York Division of Local Government to study shared services and perhaps municipal consolidation.

ii. Keep Washington a safe community by addressing declining volunteer emergency service levels, costs and trends toward privatization of emergency services, perhaps through the development of incentives, a special assessment district or other approaches. Plan for possible State requirements to combine police services for greater efficiency and cost savings.

3. Objective: Hold down property taxes as much as possible.

i. Assertively pursue non-tax revenue through State and federal grants and public-private partnerships to support municipal services and diversity the Town’s revenue stream.

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

4  

b. Recommendations

ii. Evaluate, and understand the impact of tax-exempt properties and pursue contributions or payments in lieu of taxes from nonprofit organizations and uses.

4. Objective: Be careful spending the Town’s Money.

i. Evaluate the benefits of any new regulation, incentive, service or program against its costs and tax consequences, both short and long term.

ii. Evaluate all annual expenditures and policies with the goal of identifying cost saving opportunities and possibilities for sharing services

iii. Evaluate the impact of the New York State Property Tax Cap and assess impact on local services.

5. Objective: Think globally, be engaged regionally and plan locally within our vision.

i. Be actively aware and appropriately engaged in regional efforts to address critical systems including the economy, housing, resource conservation and environmental protection.

ii. Strive to understand best planning practices that can be used to address regional and global issues in a manner consistent with the vision of the Town of Washington.

b. Recommendations

i. Encourage community members to participate with local, regional and statewide groups and keep Town residents aware of issues and opportunities related to protection of environmental resources,

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

5  

transportation, economic development and housing market trends among other issues.

ii. Advocate green infrastructure and low impact development practices whenever appropriate.

iii. Make efforts to “green” Town operations; reduce environmental impacts and carbon footprint by using alternate energy and seeking the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Program Certification for Town projects.

6. Objective: Develop a long term planning program that tracks progress of Comprehensive Plan implementation.

i. Monitor and track progress in implementing the Comprehensive Plan including a periodic review of the implementation and effectiveness of the Comprehensive Plan (at least every three years).

ii. Review codes and ordinances to ensure that they are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

iii. Provide adequate financial, personnel, and technical support to implement the plan policies and recommendations.

iv. Enact, and diligently enforce, clear precise and understandable codes and ordinances to address Town policies.

b. Recommendations

i. Develop a Capital Improvement Program to identify capital projects and equipment purchases the Town will make over a 10-15 year period, systematically and simultaneously review projects, outline a planning schedule, identify options for financing while stabilizing debt and consolidating projects to reduce borrowing costs.

ii. Develop a Comprehensive Road Maintenance Plan that prioritizes road maintenance.

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

6  

iii. Review the Town’s Zoning, Site Plan, Subdivision and related land management tools. Appoint a committee to guide the process to update the codes to conform to the Comprehensive Plan.

iv. Review other regulations of the Town Code (not related to the land management regulations) and the Policy and Procedure Manual with a view towards eliminating inconsistencies, outdated practices and conflicts.

Will move to section with recreation and community services

“Maintain a stable level of municipal services that benefit Town residents.”

Will move to goal addressing Transportation and explain “rural road”

“Review the repaving cycle but also explores the possibilities of maintaining roadways in a rural nature, by using different reconstruction and maintenance materials, if it does have negative economic impacts.”

a. Policies

a. Policies

a. Polices

a. Policies

a. Policies

a. Policies

Posted in General | Comments Off

August 18th meeting

The Comprehensive Plan Committee will meet on August 18th at the Town of Washingotn Town Hall beginning at 6:00 PM.

The committee will have a 1. Continued Discussion of Goal 3: Agriculture &
Environment with guest David Haight from American Farmland Trust

Posted in General | Comments Off

Governance: The Strategy by Anthony Sloan

Below is a draft document written by Anthony Sloan and presented to the committee at the July 25 meeting:

Governance the Strategy DRAFT by Anthony Sloan 7-21-2011

Posted in Comprehensive Plan | Comments Off

COMP PLAN MEETING DATES

The Town of Washington Comprehensive Plan Committee will meet at 6:00 PM, at the Town of Washington Town Hall on the following dates:

  • July 25
  • August 18
  • September 15
  • September 29
  • October 17
  • October 27
  • November 14
  • November 28
  • December 12

Agendas for each of these meetings will be posted prior to the meeting.

Posted in General | Comments Off

Comprehensive Plan Committee Agenda: 6-13-2011

Comprehensive Plan Committee – AGENDA

6/13/11, 6-8 PM Town Hall

*Welcome
*Comprehensive Plan Committee updates
*Review Goal 6: Govern with openness and fiscal responsibility.
*Discussion with members of the Village and Town Board
*Public Input

DRAFT TOW Goals and Objectives – May 4, 2011 – Including Committee Changes

Posted in Comprehensive Plan | Comments Off

May 2nd – Committee Agenda

CPC AGENDA: 6:00 PM MONDAY, MAY 11, 2011

1.    Public Participation “Rules of the Road”

2.    Continued discussion on use of “Performance Measures”

3. Discussion of Draft Goals and Objectives

4. Discussion of “the road ahead” – calendaring of meetings and deciding upon topics

 *the CPC members will arrive early to arrange seating and work areas

Posted in General | Comments Off

Comprehensive Plan Committee – Meeting, April 4, 2011

AGENDA

1) Discussion of Plan Goals:

a.    Synthesis of Committee Reports

b.   Use of a “Goals Matrix”

2) CPC Website Administration

a.   Approve minutes so that website can be updated

b.   Updating Website Information

3)   Recent Correspondence to CPC

4)   Adjourn public portion of meeting 15 minutes early for “backend” website training for Committee members who will approve public comments prior to posting.

Posted in General | Comments Off