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Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee introduces ADVANCE Seneca Falls 2040 draft to Town Board

At Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the Town Board, Frederick Capozzi and Christine VanDusen, members of the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, introduced the draft comprehensive plan ADVANCE Seneca Falls 2040 to the members of the Board.

While the draft will be under continued review for the next month, the Board took action to declare itself Lead Agency in the matter of SEQRA review. According to New York Department of State, “a municipality’s adoption of a land use or “comprehensive plan” (as referred to in General City Law §28-a, Town Law §272-a, and Village Law §7-722) is not only subject to SEQRA but is classified as a Type I action in the SEQRA regulations.”

The Town Board will meet on September 20th for a work session. At the meeting, the Board will discuss the contents of the plan and share its feedback with the steering committee prior to finalization and its impending adoption. The Town of Seneca Falls in collaboration with the former Village last produced a comprehensive plan in 2006 which was not formally adopted.

Why does the Town need a comprehensive plan? First, one must look at the definition of ‘comprehensive plan’. A comprehensive plan “encompasses the materials, written and/or graphic, including but not limited to maps, charts, studies, resolutions, reports and other descriptive material that identify the goals, objectives, principles, guidelines, policies, standards, devices and instruments for the immediate and long-range protection, enhancement, growth and development” of the municipality”, according to New York State.

Further, ADVANCE Seneca Falls 2040 Comprehensive Plan outlines the community’s sense of place and its vision. With active participation of residents and business owners in Seneca Falls comprising the steering committee and 4 sub-committees, their work set the pace for the Public Visioning session held in June. The community’s responses were catalogued and the information was compiled and compressed into various policy areas in which the steering committee later analyzed. The work of the steering committee, sub-committees, and the resulting visioning session makeup a vast scope of the draft plan introduced on Tuesday. Therefore, the adoption of a comprehensive plan by the Town will enable the plan ‘to act as a ‘guide in developing zoning and other land use regulations, and serve as a guide for local and state agency decision-making’ as outlined by the State.

What is the purpose of having a comprehensive plan that is reflective of the current state of the community? Such a policymaking tool as the proposed draft ”ADVANCE Seneca Falls 2040”:

  • Identifies what the community looks like now
  • What it should look like in the future (goals, objectives, principles)
  • How the community intends to get there (regulatory standards, devices and legal instruments) and
  • Why it should be done (protection, preservation, conservation, enhancement, growth and development)

It is the desire of the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee that the draft plan be adopted to help solidify the community’s identity and build consensus through the creation of a shared vision, goals, and strategies. These goals and strategies can be the basis for new programs and regulations that will guide development and enhance the Town. All Town agencies involved in planning capital projects in the Town should first consider this plan. New York State Law mandates that zoning be made according to a well-reasoned plan.

With the voices of the community at-hand, the Town of Seneca Falls has the ability to coordinate planning, zoning and spending in a dynamic framework that directs and controls growth that serve the community’s needs rather than be subject to the vision of others in the absence of a master comprehensive plan. ADVANCE Seneca Falls 2040 is Your Town. Your Vision. View Draft #1 Comprehensive Plan here.