Saranac Lake looks to update its comprehensive plan

SARANAC LAKE - It looks like the Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees will opt to update its 1989 comprehensive plan.

During last week's regular meeting, trustees voted down a resolution seeking "expressions of interest" regarding consultant services. Those services would be paid for using a $75,000 grant from the state.

In November, trustees expressed major reservations about a draft comprehensive plan that a village committee put together over a four-year period. That plan included public input acquired through surveys and several public hearings.

But Trustee Jeff Branch says the Village Board didn't play a large enough role in the process.

"I've sat in on public hearings where I've raised questions as a board member and I was shushed - I was told I couldn't ask questions," Branch said. "I've gone to meetings and I begged people to take into consideration everybody's concerns and comments because if not, it's going to lead exactly where it's going now."

During the pubic comment portion of last week's meeting, village resident Rich Shapiro said the board didn't give the draft plan its due diligence.

"I'm wondering what sort of effective use of village resources this is, in terms of time and dollars," Shapiro said. "There were people on the board that campaigned heavily on saving taxpayer money, yet there are many things in this plan that have already been done. There's a draft plan that was torn apart by the board without fully understanding everything that was in there."

Branch countered that the board does understand the draft comprehensive plan, noting that trustees chose to discard portions of the document that were too subjective and too open to interpretation.

He said useful legislation can't be built on mere theories and ideas.

Rather than adopt the draft comprehensive plan, Branch wants the village to update the 1989 document.

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