Town of Fallsburg Town Board December 18, 2018 Steve Vegliante, Supervisor Fallsburg Town Board Dear Mr. Vegliante, The Town of Fallsburg has invested a great deal of time and money over the past year and a half to update its Comprehensive Plan and revise the town’s Zoning Code. This effort has produced a plan and corresponding regulations for the future of Fallsburg, one that is intended to protect the environment and character of the town. Fallsburg’s Future has been involved in the process as active bystanders, and we believe that we provided helpful input.
The 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update, adopted in June, 2018, includes a list of recommendations to be implemented by the Town Board. We welcome and support most of the recommendations, the first of which is to appoint a committee that will take on the task of implementation As we approach the New Year, we want to be sure that the town is creating this committee. Without it, confidence in the Comprehensive Plan can easily be eroded if residents believe that it only sits on a shelf collecting dust.
Fallsburg’s Future sees the Comprehensive Plan as a living document, a useful tool in guiding the development of our town. The Comprehensive Plan itself states, in the section “Other,” O-3: “Establish a standing Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee to ensure implementation of the recommendations of this Plan subsequent to its adoption, by continually monitoring progress and communicating with the Town Board, staff, and relevant Boards and Committees.”
We respectfully ask the Board what is the status of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee We appreciate your timely response and look forward to finding ways to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan’s crucial recommendations. Sincerely, Paul Hoeffel, for Fallsburg’s Future
April 2018 Letter Regarding Implementation
Steven Vegliante, Supervisor Town of Fallsburg Town Board` PO Box 2019 19 Railroad Plaza South Fallsburg, NY 12779 April 3, 2018 Dear Steve and Town Board members, Fallsburg’s Future, an activist group of residents concerned with the town's sustainable development, congratulate you and the Board for the completion of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update and Amendments to the Zoning Regulations. We are grateful to the board for having taken this step to ensure sustainable growth in Fallsburg for the foreseeable future. We also want to encourage you to take the next step needed to implement the many important recommendations in the Comprehensive Plan. As stated in the Plan, “Certain recommendations will require the subsequent action of the Town Board”. We support the recommendation to appoint a committee that can assist you in accomplishing this. By doing so, the board would be delegating some of the work to an implementation committee that can help coordinate activities and review progress, making the process more efficient and effective.While some of the projects and tasks may require certain skills or knowledge, others might only require the concerted interest of volunteer residents. We believe having the town residents involved in the implementation phase of the Comprehensive Plan would be beneficial for the community. There might even be opportunities to establish standing committees for ongoing purposes. In our view, there is still a lot to be done. If Fallsburg’s Future can be of ny assistance in this endeavor, we welcome the opportunity. You have our support and we wish you every success. Sincerely yours,
PIX FROM 6-20 MORATORIUM MEETING
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Fallsburg’s Comprehensive Plan Committee (CPC) held its fourth meeting on Thursday, February 17, as it moves into higher gear to meet a tentative spring deadline for its updated recommendations to the Town Board.
The Comprehensive Plan will update the 2006 CP that recommended the shared goals of the town’s overall development.
The CPC agenda included: · Public Survey - Discussion of proposed questions · Issues and Opportunities · Conceptual Land Use Plan Seven of the nine CPC members went over a draft 15-question survey designed to elicit information and opinions of Fallsburg residents to be taken into consideration by the final CP.
Four questions covered the CPC 2006 Vision Statement, which reads: “To guide future growth and development within the Town of Fallsburg in a manner that respects the Town’s rural character so that its unique sense of place is enhanced; its agricultural, historic, and natural resources protected; its hamlets revitalized and its social and economic vitality ensured for years to come.”
Two questions covered economic development Three questions were on Open Space and Natural Resources Two questions on Scenic Resources Two questions on Issues and Opportunities/Assets And the last question was on the survey participants’ demographics regarding their residential status. Participants suggested a number of changes to the questions to ensure relevance and clarity. The town will make the final survey available to residents both electronically and in hard copy. This public input will be enhanced by one and possibly two public consultations for feedback later in the CPC process.
We will post the final survey on the Fallsburg’s Future website as soon as it is available (seefallsburgsfuture.org). Be sure to respond to the survey!
There was some discussion about including a question about the buying habits of the residents to identify more opportunities for year ‘round versus the seasonal economic development.
There was also discussion about land use and in particular the REC 1 and REC 2 zones (see our website to see the definitions of the zones and also the Fallsburg’s zoning map). Again, the aim is to enhance zoning that would encourage more year ‘round residence and not just the seasonal residential development.
Discussion also touched on the importance of economic development since people are not going to live here year ‘round if they have to commute long distances for jobs elsewhere.
The next CPC meeting will be March 2, 2017. The CPC might begin meeting twice a month in order to complete the CP before the town’s Moratorium on authorization of new residential development expires in July.
Fallsburg’s Future, an activist group of Fallsburg residents, is particularly concerned about issues relating to sustainable residential development. One of our members, Rebecca Pratt, is a member of the Comprehensive Plan Committee. Please sign up to receive our Updates and Alerts by going to our website: fallsburgsfuture.org. Let us know if you want to participate in our activities and subcommittees. Send this Update to your friends and neighbors. Let’s get smart about Fallsburg’s future!
Fallsburg's Future 2018 Year In Review
The 2018 in review and the year ahead
We at Fallsburg’s Future would like to offer a brief recap of our actions over this past year and share with you an outline of our priorities for the months ahead. All in all it was a busy time for Fallsburg’s planning and development, and we are pleased that we were able to make a substantive contribution to the public dialogue, especially around the town’s updated Comprehensive Plan.
We lent our support to the Basha Kill Area Association (BKAA) in its effort to watch over the environmental protection at the proposed Thompson Education Center project. Most of the project lies in the Town of Thompson with a sliver of land in Fallsburg. Early in the year BKAA challenged the legitimacy of the building permit that was issued in Fallsburg for the construction of a large residential building as part of the project. The permit had been issued even though the Environmental Impact Statement for the overall project has never been completed. After a lengthy review process and two public hearings, the Fallsburg ZBA upheld the permit despite our efforts.
We joined with the Pleasure Lake Homeowners’ Association in their effort to stop a developer from using blasting procedures at a nearby project that threatened the Pleasure Lake dam and surrounding environment. Eventually, the developer rescinded the request to blast.
We submitted complaints to the town pertaining to six business storefronts in South Fallsburg that were run-down and in violation of the town maintenance code. Most of the problems have, to some extent, been addressed by the building owners. We appreciate the efforts of Code Enforcement.
Aided by generous support from BKAA, we consulted with an engineer to get up to speed about the Fallsburg’s water and sewer system and the challenges it faces with over 200 new homes coming on line each year. We met with the town engineer to learn more about the water and sewer infrastructure in Mountaindale and the costs associated with operating, maintaining and expanding it. See our Update regarding this issue on our website.
We continued to reach out to other organizations like the Columbia Hill Neighborhood Association, the Rock Hill Neighborhood Coalition and Catskill Mountainkeeper in support of their campaigns to protect the environment and align residential developments with Town codes and regulations.
Many of our members supported the successful campaign to elect Rebecca Pratt to the Town Board. Rebecca made her mark on the Comprehensive Plan Committee and one of our members served as her campaign manager. She took up her position in December.
We regularly attended Planning Board meetings and voiced our points of view when the public could make written and verbal comments. Often our members were the only people representing the public, but through our regular FF Alerts and Updates, we were able to rally more residents to attend important meetings.
In our central effort during 2017-2018, we very closely followed the work of the Comprehensive Plan Committee as it updated the 2006 Comprehensive Plan. After their work was finished, The Town Board adopted the 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update (CPU) in June and we were pleased that many of its 100 recommendations reflected our concerns and suggestions. We saw that some of our input had influenced changes to the reconfiguration of the zoning districts that will help control development in the decade ahead.
On the other hand, we were disappointed that the town did not take action on reigning in several aspects of the Duplex Development Law or abolishing it altogether as one member of our group had advocated for in recommendations to the Town Board.
The year ahead With the Comprehensive Plan and the new Zoning codes in effect as of last June, our group of concerned residents believe we must now focus our attention on the list of recommendations that need to be carried out. A key recommendation is that the town set up an Implementation Committee to assist the Town Board in following through with those recommendations. Here are general areas that we believe are important and should be focused on.
An overall assessment of the cumulative impact of large-scale development
Increased transparency with regard to the Town, Planning, Zoning and Architectural Review Boards processes.
Environmental protection of water, open space, etc.
Aesthetics related to building design, public spaces, etc.
Development of community parks and eco-friendly recreation facilities
We wish all of our friends and neighbors a wonderful new year, with the hope that our town continues its slow renewal and development in ways that improve the quality of life for all of us and our many visitors.
Fallsburg’s Future, an activist group of Fallsburg residents, is concerned about issues relating to sustainable residential development.
Comprehensive Plan Committee Shifts Into Higher Gear
March 3, 2017 Fallsburg’s Comprehensive Plan Committee met on Thursday (March 2) with a larger than usual public attendance. Its discussion focused on its possible recommendations for the revision of the town’s zoning laws. Steve Gordon, speaking on behalf of Fallsburg’s Future, said that over the past year, the members of our group have been reviewing the many issues surround the town’s development. “The unhealthy surge in developments was facilitated primarily by the Duplex Law,” he said. “We believe that reevaluating the efficacy of the Duplex Law should be a very high priority for the CPC.”
Much of the subsequent discussion focused on the duplex development regulation in Fallsburg’s zoning code. One suggestion was that an “anti-look-alike” provision be written into the code to encourage architectural designs that avoid the cookie-cutter syndrome.
As the deadline for the revised Comprehensive Plan for the future development of Fallsburg is tentatively set for April, the Committee, comprised of Fallsburg residents, appears to be shifting from a learning mode into concrete recommendation mode. The discussion around the complex issues of zoning laws, density and especially the parameters of the so-called Duplex Law, which governs most of the new resident developments being proposed by developers.
Stuart Turner, representing Nelson, Pope & Voorhis, the consulting group hired by the town to guide the CP process, explained the Conceptual Land Use Plan that should be developed by the Committee. He said the Use Plan will play an important role in guiding the re-zoning that is anticipated as part of the process of reshaping the future of the town.
The group also discussed the drawbacks of having only a seasonal economy and the obstacles the town faces in encouraging new businesses that will operate year-round.
The consultants, in consultation with the Committee are finalizing a survey for Fallsburg’s Residents to get their views on the development of the town is almost ready for circulation. It will appear in the Sullivan Democrat, on the town’s website and will be disseminated in other ways, hopefully in Spanish as well.
The Committee agreed it should step up its meeting schedule. We will advise you when the next meetings are scheduled and also provide our subscribers with the Survey when it goes public. It’s very important that hundreds of people respond to the Survey.
Please forward this Update to your friends and neighbors. For more information go to fallsburgsfuture.org.