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Choosing goals is next step for Comprehensive Plan Committee

WASHINGTON — The Comprehensive Plan Committee held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, April 4, to decide on an approach to selecting goals for the new comprehensive plan for the town of Washington now that consensus on the vision statement has been reached. Josh Mackey, Planning Board chairman and member of the Comprehensive Plan Administrative Committee, acknowledged that village resident Tony Sloan, a retired city planner, was a member-at-large of the committee and asked him to explain his goal-setting approach. Sloan, who reminded the committee of the importance of performance measures in setting targets and measuring success for years, presented his own matrix of goals, more detailed objectives and possible metrics. He said that the plan should be used as a management tool. Margaret Irwin of River Street presented a compilation document with the goals and objectives discussed at the May 2010 public hearing, assorted comments by participants and subcommittees and River Street’s synthesis of the comments. Resident Howard Schuman pointed out that the minutes distributed for approval specifically stated that comments would be weighted to reflect the majority voice, not just a single individual’s one-off comments.While Sloan’s and River Street’s goals are similar, with the exception of the development of Mabbettsville, they diverge in specific objectives. For example, Sloan’s version has four specific objectives for preserving rural character while River Street’s includes 11. Both versions will be posted on the comprehensive plan website, comp.washingtonny.org.Despite the disjointed discussion that followed concerning commitment to the vision and the difficulty of identifying measurements for goals, there was finally agreement on Sloan’s matrix, if not his specific goals and objectives. Irwin endorsed Sloan’s approach as a “deliverable,” and all agreed that when the goals and objectives were completed the town of Washington board’s interim approval should be sought. Committee member and Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Chairman Jerry Baker reminded the group that it is the Town Board that must approve the final plan.The committee agreed that at the next meeting specific goals would be agreed upon with some objectives, if there’s time. Committee member Kate Farrell reiterated, “We’re not turning our backs on the vision statement.”March 5 Draft Vision StatementWe 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 town by ensuring that our working farms, beautiful historical landscapes, water resources and natural habitat for our plants and animals are preserved for the future. We believe in managing our fiscal house responsibly. We believe in maintaining a vibrant and diverse local business community located in the village center and we want to maintain our historical character because of its importance in preserving the look and feel of our community.

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