Take part in drafting the Elizabethtown comprehensive plan

Guest Viewpoint

The Elizabethtown Planning Board is working to update the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. If you wonder what the Comprehensive Plan is, or what it can do for our Town, read on!

Some familiar folks, including Phil Hutchins, Gretna Longware and Herb Hildebrant, developed the original Comprehensive Plan back in 1976. As a result of this first Plan, the Town was able to create the “Historic District.” The plan allowed our leaders to put buildings such as the Hand and Hale Houses on the National Historic Register, and preserve these historic buildings for the future.

Having this Plan made it possible for Elizabethtown to receive grant money to develop the Blueberry Hills Trails, which provides over 800 acres and more than 30 miles of hiking that we all can enjoy. The Plan also made the Town eligible to receive the grant money that built the new Footbridge Park, which offers a nature trail for young children.

In 2010, the Planning Board, with support from the Town Board, applied for a Smart Growth Grant. The competition for this grant was fierce, with many towns in Essex County applying for the money.

In July 2011 Elizabethtown was chosen to receive $37,000 to pay for the cost of updating the original 1976 Comprehensive Plan. A Planning Board sub-committee was formed to write a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire the professional services of an experienced planner. This RFP was sent out to companies in the area, and after reviewing the many responses; the sub-committee narrowed their choices down to three companies. They interviewed the three companies, and after much discussion, checking references and reviewing the companies’ experience, the sub-committee decided to award the contract to Community Planning and Environmental Associates.

Many things have changed in the 46 years since the original Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the people of Elizabethtown. An updated Plan will allow the people to have more input into how our town grows. Some of the things the revised Plan will look at are: Clearly defining the different areas of the Town (Commercial, Residential, Historical), finding ways to make the Town safer for pedestrians by adding sidewalks and crosswalks, improving parking areas and creating better visibility for drivers, preserving existing buildings and helping to update the facilities, improving the golf course and looking at ways it can be used as a year round recreational facility, developing cross country ski and snow shoe trails, and improving the ice rink and making it more accessible to residents,

In addition, having a Comprehensive Plan qualifies local businesses to become eligible for grant money, allowing them to make improvements to their businesses.

All changes and updates to the existing Comprehensive Plan will be presented to the residents of Elizabethtown at public hearings. The Comprehensive Plan sub-committee would like to have additional members of the community on the committee during this process. Any Elizabethtown resident who is willing to make a two-year commitment to serve on the Sub-Committee is invited to submit a letter of interest to the Planning Board, P.O. Box 265, Elizabethtown, NY 12932.

Ronald Testa


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