Draft Comprehensive Plan Update
DRAFT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN UPDATE 11/15/2018
GOAL 1: CONSERVE OUR RURAL, HISTORIC AND RIVER-COMMUNITY CHARACTER
Update overlays existing language with sustainability theme and calls for formation of a Tree Advisory Committee, maintenance of unoccupied structures, and maintaining connectivity of open spaces.
Recognizing that our town is a gateway to the Hudson River Valley, we residents of Philipstown have long realized that unfettered development and industrialization of its riverfront are a detriment to the scenic beauty we are fortunate to enjoy every day. Maintaining our scenic waterfront, preserving our historic character, and safeguarding the rural nature of our town are an important element of who we are.
We believe that
-Philipstown is a unique place characterized by great natural beauty, historic places and a sense of small-town community.
-This uniqueness is fragile and could be lost through a rapid influx of development.
- Connectivity of open space is critical to maintaining this unique character and so fragmentation of the landscape is discouraged.
-Development should be done in a manner that is sensitive to the town’s special natural resources, beauty, rural and historic qualities.
This plan has 4 main strategies for achieving this goal:
1. Discourage intensive development in areas not designated for future growth in the Comprehensive Plan, allowing only low-density development that does not fragment the landscape
i. provide incentives for voluntary density reductions
ii. encourage open space development that promotes connectivity of open spaces and avoids fragmentation, also known as clustering or conservation development, where appropriate
iii. require that development is in scale and in character with its surroundings and lot size
iv. encourage a pattern of rural dirt roads with low-density rural subdivisions
v. require that new rural roads be compatible with the existing road system. In particular, new roads off of dirt roads should be in character with the surroundings.
vi. encourage institutional uses that fit the character of the community, and maintain good zoning control over those uses. Institutional uses on large parcels of land are traditionally low-intensity uses. If these parcels were developed for residential use it could have a large impact on the character of the community
vii. consider the long term sustainability of the town and health of the residents in every action taken
2. Preserve elements that contribute to Philipstown’s rural and historic character — dirt roads; stone walls; historic structures, sites and areas; significant trees, ridgelines, farmland, and forests; the Hudson River shoreline and scenic viewsheds
i. preserve the character of designated dirt roads pursuant to a road master plan.
ii. preserve our stone walls, historic structures and large trees, and require consideration of these in the building permit process. Form a town-wide Tree Advisory Committee whose mission would be to educate the residents of the town on best practices for the maintenance of historic trees.
iii. promote the continued use of agricultural land for farming.
3. Improve the visual qualities of Route 9
i. establish buffers and higher standards for building design, as appropriate
ii. phase out billboards
iii. encourage the monitoring and removal of invasive species
iv. encourage the maintenance and landscaping of unoccupied or abandoned structures
4. Facilitate visual and physical access to the Hudson River and its tributaries
GOAL 2: MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE OUR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DIVERSITY
Update re-emphasizes the need for a wide range of housing solutions and calls for better public transportation, more professional office space, the adaptive re-use of institutional properties and rehabilitation of older housing units and septic systems.
Philipstown’s special character comes from its residents as much as its physical setting. Our quality of life relies on housing that is affordable to current residents and their families, as well as access to a diversified economy within the Town.
Residents who work in the community strengthen Philipstown’s small-town character. This character and quality of life are threatened by escalating housing costs. Creative solutions for securing a range of housing that fits the community character for a variety of income levels should be pursued, and home-based businesses and local small businesses providing a range of services should be encouraged. This plan identifies 8 strategies to achieve this goal:
1. Increase the availability of mixed-priced rental and ownership housing with appropriate controls on their location and impact
i. allow accessory housing by right
ii. encourage two-family housing with appropriate controls on location and impact
iii. encourage multi-family housing located in or next to mixed-use centers
iv. encourage a mixture of housing types and require mixed-priced housing in new developments over a set size threshold.
v. encourage integration of senior housing into the fabric of the community
vi. encourage mixed-use development where housing is mixed with commercial uses
vii. provide incentives and/or requirements for the permanent dedication of units as affordable housing
viii. partner with and promote awareness of existing non-profits working to increase affordable housing in the county and in the region.
ix. allow multi-family housing that serves local needs where a unique opportunity exists to replace an undesirable use with significant numbers of housing units.
x. incentivize landlords who convert (and maintain) existing rental units to permanent affordable housing through state programs.
xi. expand upon the New York State housing non-discrimination ordinance locally to cover two-family, owner occupied housing
2. Allow senior housing that addresses local and regional income levels and needs, and is in keeping with the scale of Philipstown and the goals of this plan — Locate senior housing in mixed used developments or adjacent to hamlet centers — close to shopping and other conveniences such as transportation and recreation.
3. Bolster public transportation in Philipstown — To help encourage seniors to remain in Philipstown, public transportation should be introduced in western Putnam county serving all of Philipstown, 7 days a week (eastern Putnam already has public transportation). Funding options such as a public-private partnership should be examined. Services for seniors needing transportation to medical appointments also should be improved and offered on a more frequent and reliable schedule. These services could be provided as part of a more robust public transportation system or on a volunteer basis. A study group should be formed to examine these and other mobility issues affecting seniors.
4. Encourage home-based business opportunities for local trades and other businesses — These businesses should be controlled to minimize the impact.
5. Create small-scale mixed-use village-type centers where local businesses can locate and thrive — These centers can provide rental and ownership housing and also be a place for retail and professional services that cater to the local community.
6. Encourage development of professional office/commercial space, in keeping with the scale of Philipstown and the goals of this plan – new businesses not only can provide expanded services to residences, but can also provide employment within the town, keeping commute times short for residents and capturing “daytime” economy of those commuting into Philipstown.
7. “Workshop” redevelopment alternatives with large institutional property owners to “pre-approve” concepts in keeping with the goals of this plan – incentivizing both sellers and buyers prior to point of sale, ensuring a framework for a speedier approvals process.
8. Encourage the rehabilitation of older housing units (and related septic systems).
GOAL 3: STRENGTHEN OUR TOWN-WIDE SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Update calls for an improved Town website and greater use of the Town’s cable channel, the development of a town-wide calendar of events and greater support for our libraries.
There is a strong desire for more community cohesion to pull together different segments of the community. This will help foster Philipstown’s small-town character and encourage the proud tradition of volunteerism in the community. The plan identifies 6 strategies to achieve this goal:
1. Improve the Town’s website and make greater use of its cable TV channel.
2. Provide improved Town Hall and Community Center facilities (youth, senior, administrative, recreation) that will help bring together residents from various parts of the town — This strategy is tightly linked with the next goal, #4, which addresses recreation.
3. Explore further cooperation among school districts and the possibility of creating a unified Philipstown school district serving residents in Garrison, Cold Spring, Nelsonville, North Highlands, and Continental Village
4. Encourage the provision of additional health care facilities
5. Maintain the volunteer fire and ambulance corps, and explore consolidation of emergency services, considering manpower needs
6. Support several town-wide events each year and maintain a town-wide calendar of events.
7. Support the public libraries in Philipstown as they provide foundational programs and services that support the quality of life of our town. They serve as a citizens’ forum to sponsor programs, discussion and education of matters of importance, such as climate change, stewardship, the environment, well-being, history, technology as well as serving as a repository of information.
GOAL 4: EXPAND OUR RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Update calls for offering a wider variety of programs and expanding the Town’s capacity to meet current and future demand.
Recreation is an important service provided by the Town. A wide range of activities serving all ages is provided at an affordable cost. Recreation is also a means of pulling different segments of the community together and encouraging people of all ages to improve their health and well-being. Strategies for expanding recreational opportunities focus on Town facilities and programs, collaborating with schools, developing biking/walking infrastructure, expanding riverfront access, working with outside agencies and seeking grant funding for infrastructure and/or programming. This plan identifies 13 strategies for achieving this goal:
1. Educate the public about Town recreational offerings and the offerings of other local recreation providers
2. Create more specialty programming that is tailored to the needs of particular groups such as teens and senior citizens
3. Develop and implement a cooperative recreation plan with all interested parties, linking it to other Town programs and regulations
i. identify opportunities to develop partnerships with schools to increase youth physical activity and encourage use of other facilities owned by schools and non-profits
ii. encourage the use of facilities owned by schools and non-profits to increase opportunities for physical activity and recreation across all age groups
4. Explore opportunities to develop expanded recreational activities through municipal, private, and non-profit development projects
5. Explore the full range of options for funding recreational properties and improve the Town’s ability to apply for grant funding for recreational programming and infrastructure
6. Identify possible sites for new Town recreational facilities that could also serve as a focal point for the community structured recreational facilities that could also serve as a community focus
— A swimming pool, gym, synthetic surfaced athletic field with lights are examples of three such facilities
7. Work with Putnam County Division of Planning & Development and NY Department of Transportation (DOT) to plan for appropriate road improvements along Route 9D to develop to safe, off-road bike paths. This was the top priority to come out of the Philipstown Community Congress community prioritization process and also aligns with Climate Smart Communities goals.
8. Create new bike and walking trails that link important community spaces such as schools, libraries, the Philipstown Recreation Center, Cold Spring and the Garrison Landing.
9. Develop a Philipstown link to the Greenway Trail and the Northern Putnam Trail.
10. Maintain the existing horse trail network and consider additional horse trails where appropriate.
11. Improve riverfront and tributary access using the Putnam Riverfront Alliance inventory of access points (appendix H). Riverfront plans should be developed closely with the Village of Cold Spring, Philipstown, Putnam County and all other stakeholders.
12. Consider lands for hunting — As lands are preserved keep in mind that NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) manages lands more actively for hunting than NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
13. Support the Fjord Trail Project – Remain engaged in discussions around Fjord Trail mapping, design and implementation. Create connections from Fjord Trail to key Village and Town locations.
GOAL 5: CONTROL OUR PROPERTY TAXES
Update emphasizes exploring shared service opportunities, planning for infrastructure threats and addressing the variability of school taxes among the residents of the Town.
Controlling property taxes was an important issue in the development of the 2006 Philipstown Comprehensive Plan. At that time, the plan included language urging administrators and officials to ensure that taxes remain reasonable and equitable. Since the adoption of the 2006 plan, the spotlight on this issue has grown brighter. Public demands for property tax relief led New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to initiate statewide tax cap and tax freeze programs in 2011 to encourage local municipalities and school districts to limit annual property tax increases. And, in 2018, adopted federal tax reform legislation included limits on the deductibility of local property taxes.
The efficacy of these programs at controlling local real property taxes is an issue for debate. What we do know is that current Philipstown Town taxes are low when compared to neighboring municipalities in the Lower Hudson Valley (exhibit: LOHUD article) and maintaining those rates is desirable to retain current taxpayers and attract new residents and businesses to Philipstown.
Complicating what appears to be a simple goal is the school tax situation for Philipstown taxpayers who are currently assigned to one of 4 school districts (List the districts – appendix current tax rates per $1,000). Tax rates vary significantly; the end result is that taxpayers with equal assessments who live in different school districts within Philipstown have total property tax bills that can vary by as much as 300%.
The school tax issue was one of the top initiatives identified by the Philipstown Community Congress (PCC) during its 2017 outreach project. A related action item for PCC volunteers is a request for Garrison Union Free School District to adopt a non-resident tuition payment plan that exists in Philipstown’s other 3 school districts. This would not have any impact on property taxes. The end result of any of these changes on school taxes is unknown at this time. In order to control real taxes at reasonable levels, the Philipstown Comprehensive Plan Update Committee recommends the following 7 strategies:
1. Maximize tax revenues by attracting commercial development in locations with suitable infrastructure. As noted in other sections of the Comprehensive Plan, retaining Philipstown’s unique character should be considered in all conversations about potential new development.
2. Weigh the benefit of potential development for increasing the Town’s tax base against the cost of providing additional services to new homes and businesses.
3. Reduce the cost of providing municipal services through budget cuts achieved by implementing efficiencies and exploring shared service opportunities with neighboring municipalities.
4. Recommend that the elected officials of the Town, Villages and School Districts and any other taxing entities meet to discuss shared concerns and needs, including discussions about innovative ways to cross traditional boundary lines to deliver improved services.
5. Identify potential infrastructure threats (dam failures, groundwater contamination), develop mitigation plans that include projected costs and implement long-range capital funding plans.
6. Explore the formation of districts and/or privatization as a potential means for delivering services to residents and maintaining public facilities in a cost-effective manner.
7. Encourage the formation of a citizen task force to examine school tax issues.
The issue of development versus land preservation and their respective impacts on property taxes and the costs of municipal services continues to be an area of concern within Philipstown. However, there is strong consensus that to make decisions based on fiscal impact alone will result in plans that dilute the special character that is the town’s core value. Philipstown, as a whole, is not experiencing a property tax crisis, but some residents are suffering the effects of rising and uneven property taxes that can be 300% higher than those of other town residents, and strategies to address this particular part of the community should be pursued. Solutions could include a town-wide property reassessment and state-level initiatives, such as creating an additional level of STAR, which reimburses residents who pay significantly higher taxes than the rest of the town. Planning decisions should be driven by the other goals of this plan, while efforts are made to contain the cost of municipal services.
While we should consider the tax impact in our decision-making, we should not let that consideration result in an overemphasis on luxury housing or allowance of commercial development that undermines the town’s special character which could have, in fact, the effect of degrading the assessed values of residential property, outweighing any tax benefits from the development.
GOAL 6: PURSUE AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOCUSED ON MAINTAINING THE TOWN’S DIVERSITY AND CHARACTER
Update calls for partnering with NYS and Putnam County to improve the safety aspects of our commercial activity and provide guidance on the use of technology in the future.
Philipstown's existing businesses provide a range of products, services and employment to the town and region. They also play a major role in shaping our special small-town character, which in turn is one of Philipstown's most positive features. Local enterprises not only enhance the economic vitality of the Town in the services they provide but also by job creation, generating state and use taxes and property taxes that benefit our governments and school districts. In many cases, our businesses and institutions attract visitors and disposable income to a sector of local retail, hospitality and services, providers.
New commercial development should be consistent with the town's aesthetic and qualitative goals, while maintaining Philipstown’s strong economy. The strategies below focus on formulating planning guidelines and new zoning ordinances to manage future commercial development that is sensitive to the community’s character. In addition, technology needs are creating a new class of workers that can work and tele-commute from their homes. Specific guidelines, ordinances and managing connectivity infrastructure will make it easier for businesses and home offices that are consistent with this, and other goals of this plan, to locate in Philipstown.
The 12 strategies below address the range of businesses in the town:
1. Accommodate retail development in designated areas that:
i. complement the town's traffic patterns, community interests and meet design guidelines. Minimize sprawl
ii. concentrate retail development at high traffic hubs and in numbers that can be supported by local demand
iii. prohibit big box retail and national franchises
discourage strip commercial development
iv. request and review NYSDOT traffic studies to identify safety issues from daily commuter traffic, on Route 9 and Route 9-D Corridors, local use patterns, and issues from curb cuts for ingress and egress traffic.
v. recommend needed upgrades and assess traffic conditions on developable vacant sites that are zoned for commercial activities
2. Encourage hamlet-type development that provides opportunities for local businesses to locate near each other.
3. Improve the character of development on Route 9. This strategy focuses on improving the aesthetics and reducing the negative impacts, such as noise, light pollution, environmental and traffic hazards, those businesses may have on their surroundings.
i. focus on managing safety egress and ingress at mixed-use hubs such as Perks Plaza area or other appropriate locations,
ii. improve traffic light and safety at Route 9 and Fishkill Road and Perks Plaza
iii. adopt further design guidelines for signage and site improvements in the corridor
iv. provide adequate buffers between commercial and residential districts
v. apply aquifer protection guidelines
vi. prohibit noisy and obtrusive uses
4. Recognize the traditional commercial and industrial nature of parts of Route 9 but reduce its impact using the strategies above in 6.
5. Recognize the historic scenic character of the rural parts of Route 9 and Route 9D and limit the scope and type of commercial development using the strategies listed above.
6. Under State law, the Town has very little control over soil mining. The Town can apply a limited range of conditions but soil mining is mostly controlled by the NYDEC which itself has limited enforcement resources. While mines can provide essential products, they can also create significant adverse impacts such as noise, dust, heavy truck traffic and visual impacts. Mines have resulted in the loss of thousands of acres of wetlands in New York. Wetlands are an important part of our ecosystem and are an integral part of our water resources. Although municipalities may not directly regulate most mining operations and/or reclamation of mine sites, they do retain a significant measure of authority to exclude mines or control the location of mining through the enactment of local laws and the zoning code. Since Philipstown is close to mines just outside the Town border, with abundant materials for construction and road maintenance, there is no pressing need for additional mining in Philipstown. The Town should use its authority to discourage additional mining within Philipstown.
7. Ensure that tourism-related businesses do not threaten the character of the town and can be supported by existing infrastructure.
8. Encourage home-based businesses consistent with the zoning code, provide safe parking for employees or clients, and assess the impact on adjacent properties.
9. Encourage owners of institutional properties to develop strategies for future reuse of their properties and foster consideration of the adaptive reuse of buildings for housing needs for the elderly or construction of new housing.
10. Recognize the importance of non-profits and religious organizations because of their affinity with the town and their contributions to the town’s quality of life.
11. Form an Advisory Committee of knowledgeable residents to provide guidance to the Town on
i. future connectivity issues such as improved fiber-optics, cell tower locations and appearances, and the introduction of 5G microwave technology.
ii. future power generation requirements.
12. Technology is fast becoming an important part of the infrastructure needed and utilized by business of all sizes, governments, healthcare, education, service providers, public safety, and business operations as well as residents. Its impact and management is broader than the capabilities of our local government. It is recommended that the broader issue of technology innovation as an economic tool and countywide connectivity should be an effort for Putnam County government to undertake to link the county, and its towns to the world.
GOAL 7: PROTECT OUR NATURAL RESOURCES
Update re-emphasizes the need to educate our residents about sustainable building practices, and puts a greater focus on water resources and the need for connectivity of open spaces to preserve our natural resources.
The town’s natural resources are its green infrastructure contributing to public health, habitat, recreation and community character. As called for in the 2006 Comprehensive Plan, the Town adopted a Natural Resources Protection Plan (NRPP) in 2007. With the adoption of the NRPP and the fact that over half of the town is protected as state park land or by conservation organizations, Philipstown is in a strong position with regards to natural resource protection. It is also important regionally as a valuable part of the federally designated Highlands Region. However, development pressures continue to pose a threat to our natural resources. A particular threat is that of landscape fragmentation, whereby development patterns create gaps in open spaces, with detrimental consequences for wildlife. A list of 9 strategies designed to protect our natural resources and be balanced with the other goals of this plan are listed below:
1. Protect water quality and quantity
i.. Monitor and protect aquifers, recharge areas and stream corridors
ii. Develop a program for septic system maintenance, remediation and education measures to minimize risk of surface and groundwater contamination
iii. Protect the quality of our water supply by identifying areas most critical to the water supply and ensuring land use practices do not threaten water quality and quantity
iv. Implement best practices for road de-icing in winter to minimize adverse impacts on our water resources; use less salt
v. Form watershed coalitions of volunteers and experts to protect the water quality of Clove Creek and Foundry Brook
vi. Support NYC in its efforts to avoid filtration of Catskill water supply serving Continental Village
vii. Update Town-wide water resource studies every 5-10 years
2. Continue an ongoing process to identify critical parcels of land for preservation and to develop ways to achieve these preservation objectives
i. Continue to implement the recommendations of the NRPP through land use regulations and other measures
ii. Update the Philipstown Open Space Index every 5-10 years, and add a focus on connectivity of open spaces
iii. Supplement the Open Space Index with an index of properties critical to key drinking water resources, namely, the Clove Creek Aquifer and Foundry Brook
iv. Educate residents and commercial owners about protecting the natural resources on their property
v. Provide training, at least annually, to all Town board and volunteer board members on how to protect natural resources in the development approval process
3. Preserve habitat and scenic resources, and prevent landscape fragmentation by encouraging the use of conservation design and clustering — Regulations around open space development should be clarified to prevent fragmentation of open space that is detrimental to wildlife movement and to our natural resources more broadly.
4. Facilitate the community's appreciation and enjoyment of the Hudson River and its tributaries
i. encourage access and use of the riverfront and its tributaries to meet the variety of demands and needs of the community
ii. safeguard and enhance the habitat of the river and its tributaries through formation of watershed coalitions for our key waterbodies
5. Protect environmentally sensitive areas identified in the NRPP, including
i. Cold Spring Reservoir and Foundry Brook
ii. Scofield Ridge
iii. Large contiguous forest blocks (i.e. matrix forest)
iv. Hudson River shoreline
v. Constitution Marsh
vi. Brooks, wetlands and riparian buffer zones
vii. Ridgelines and steep slopes
viii. Corridors between already protected lands
6. Develop strategies to protect against environmentally hazardous material
i. work with other agencies to identify hazardous materials and safeguards against them
ii. identify sites that may be a source of contaminants into key waterbodies and implement sampling, testing and mitigation protocols (e.g. through the watershed coalitions mentioned in 1v. above).
7. Increase awareness and encourage commercial and residential construction practices, which will reduce impacts on municipal services as well as the environment
i. water conservation
ii. recycling programs
iii. renewable energy applications
iv. incorporation of materials with longer life v. use of biodegradable materials
v. efficient use of lighting
vi. reduce impervious surface areas
8. Continue to assess and identify areas that may have high habitat value for biodiversity
9. Explore the adoption of new waste treatment methods to reduce the impact of current septic requirements on the landscape
GOAL 8: IMPROVE THE SAFETY AND AESTHETICS OF OUR ROADS
Update re-emphasizes the need for a capital plan for the roads in Philipstown.
Philipstown roads enhance the rural character of the township. Whether aggregate or asphalt, the roads wind through scenic areas. In addition to serving vehicular transportation, they are used by hikers, horseback riders, dog walkers and many others. Maintenance of the roads in hilly country, between steep banks and over numerous streams is a challenge. The goal for roads in this plan is to appreciate the roads as a community asset and develop appropriate techniques for their preservation. 7 strategies for doing so are listed below:
1. Use techniques and materials that enhance sustainability, resilience and regeneration.
2. Minimize the use of fossil fuels and salt; manage erosion through drainage strategies.
3. Amend the Philipstown new road requirements to encourage unpaved new and private roads.
4. Undertake a cost efficiency analysis of the Highway Department; enhance the Department’s planning capability.
5. Create pedestrian footpaths and bikeways.
6. Promote community education about citizens’ role in road maintenance.
7. Develop a master plan for all roads in the town.
GOAL 9: LOCATE NEW DEVELOPMENT WHERE IT CAN BE SUPPORTED BY EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE AND DEVELOP NEW INFRASTRUCTURE ONLY WHERE IT IS SUPPORTIVE OF THE TOWN’S DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION GOALS (which are outlined in the Town’s Zoning Code, Natural Resources Protection Plan and Open Space Index among other documents that are available on Philipstown’s website www.philipstown.com).
Update calls for anticipating adaptive re-use and mixed price housing opportunities.
Philipstown seeks to promote smart growth principles in its land use policies. At the core of the Town’s character is growth and development that so far has been within the scale of the community, located along major thoroughfares and kept away from more rural areas. As development pressures mount, this Goal’s 5 strategies will direct development to areas where it can be reasonably supported and not drastically change the character of an area.
1. Concentrate new commercial and industrial development in designated mixed use or industrial areas.
2. Locate denser development adjacent to existing areas of settlement.
3. With active local community involvement, study appropriate areas for new mixed use development, explore use of central sewer and water where appropriate, and consider developing master plans that balance community character and development potential, while avoiding landscape fragmentation.
4. Anticipate redevelopment, adaptive reuse, and mixed income housing opportunities in discussions with owners of institutional properties, large tracts of land and old industrial sites. Encourage the involvement of open space preservation and land conservation organizations in these discussions. Some examples of favorable adaptive reuse projects that are considered to be in the spirit of the Plan are:
i. Winter Hill
ii. The Garrison
iii. The Garrison Institute
5. Allow denser mixed use development areas that can become community hubs, creating more pedestrian oriented environments.
GOAL 10: ENSURE THAT PHILIPSTOWN IS A COMMUNITY WHERE RESIDENTS CAN ENJOY GOOD HEALTH ACROSS THE LIFESPAN.
Update calls for the addition of a new Goal to embrace the theme “Health and Well-Being.
This Goal is aligned with a 2017 New York State directive to embrace a “health across all policies”, which calls for “incorporating health considerations into policies, programs and initiatives led by non-health agencies.”
There is a trend in many communities to make health an integral part of comprehensive planning. This stems from a recognition that our health is shaped by the communities in which we live. Additionally, in the past, health concerns were often not explicitly integrated into planning processes, which has led to the development of communities that do not support the health of their residents (e.g. not walkable, unsafe, not enough green space, poor land use planning (contributing to environmental hazards), and not attentive to human needs across the lifespan).
Even though a health goal may overlap with other goals, articulating a specific health goal with objectives will reinforce the idea that health and well-being are foundational to a thriving community. It will also lead to planning and policy decisions that promote, rather than detract from health. The New York State Climate Smart Communities program requires that Comprehensive Plans include “protecting public health and safety” as part of its sustainability framework.
1. Age-Group Specific Strategies:
i. Promote supportive environments for parents/infants/toddlers by expanding access to high quality parent support and early learning opportunities
ii. Collaborate with school districts and community organizations to support positive youth development by providing a wide range of recreational, enrichment and skill-building programs for youth at low or no cost.
iii. Use zoning restrictions and other approaches to restrict youth access to tobacco, e-cigs/vape products, alcohol, and associated advertising (e.g. Town could prohibit tobacco advertising or sales within a certain radius of schools); adopt a smoke-free air law for Philipstown that includes vape products, prohibiting smoking in parks, playgrounds and on town buildings/grounds.
iv. Collaborate with other government and social service agencies to prevent youth access to illegal drugs, continue to support the efforts of Communities that Care and the drug prevention coordinator.
v. Work towards making Philipstown an “age-friendly community,” aligning with NY state’s goal; “age-friendly” means addressing the needs of seniors across multiple domains including housing, transportation, social inclusion, and social and health services, among others (see https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-york-designated-first-age-friendly-state-nation-aarp-and-world for more information)
2. Active transport/active living strategies:
i. Ensure that parks and recreational spaces address needs across all age groups.
ii. Support the development of biking and walking paths as a way to promote non-motorized transportation to reduce pollution and promote physical activity (Climate Smart Communities, required element).
iii. Support access to affordable recreational activities for residents of all ages including Philipstown Recreation Center programs.
iv. Explore partnerships with school districts to allow access to district recreation facilities for low or no cost.
v. Improve the Town’s recreation infrastructure (pool, gym).
3. Support Healthy Foods and Prevent Food Insecurity Strategies:
i. Support access to affordable healthy foods by supporting and developing “local food systems” (Climate Smart Communities lists “conserving and supporting local food systems,” earn 1 point)
ii. Develop a community garden.
iii. Work with community-based agencies to prevent food insecurity/hunger.
4. Environmental Health Strategies:
i. Become a “Climate Smart Community,” develop and implement a “Climate Action Plan” and a “Climate Resilient Action Plan.” (aligns with Climate Smart Communities goals)
ii. Support initiatives that reduce air pollution (non-motorized transport, public transport and solar energy) (aligns with Climate Smart Communities goals)
iii. Develop and implement strategies to reduce solid waste disposal including incentivizing recycling and composting, promote backyard composting (Climate Smart Communities, earn 1 point)
iv. Preserve and protect drinking water resources. Specifically protect surface and groundwater from overuse of salt on roadways (explore more environmentally friendly options); and limit use of pesticides on roadways and near waterways where possible, and/or use biopesticides/non-toxic pesticides (Climate Smart Communities, earn 1 point)
v. Plan for public health issues associated with climate change including increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as hurricanes, severe snow/ice storms, flooding and extreme heat events; in particular plan for needs of sensitive populations including infants and elderly (example, providing and publicizing cooling centers during extreme heat events. (Climate Smart Communities, part of promoting climate resilience and adaptation for which municipalities earn 1 point)
4. Access to healthcare and social services strategies:
i. Promote improved access to health, mental health and social services for residents of all ages (co-location of services, transportation)
ii. Partner with local, state and federal agencies to prevent drug and alcohol use and abuse
5. MV Safety Strategies
i. Work with the State Department of Transportation to improve safety and decrease crashes on state roadways.
ii. Work with Putnam County to improve safety and decrease crashes on county roadways.
iii. Work with Putnam County Health Department to make recommendations for improving MV safety
GOAL 11: PROMOTE THE CONTINUED USE OF AGRICULTURAL LAND FOR FARMING
Update calls for a new Goal to emphasize the importance of supporting agriculture.
Nothing is quite so basic as food. Although Philipstown may not strike you as agricultural, there are many examples of farming large and small, from commercial vegetables to a community garden and to many family gardens. Agriculture benefits an entire community in many ways: sharing of produce, sharing of labor, good health from fresh local food. This Goal outlines 5 strategies to support agriculture in Philipstown:
1. Create an inventory of all current “agricultural” ventures, large and small.
2. Educate the community about the preservation of open spaces as fields rather than lawns.
3. Encourage small-scale food production with community information about techniques, available “borrowed” land, a tour of Town examples.
4. Create the position of a Coordinator to implement these goals.
5. Provide a Town-wide compost area and management.
GOAL 12: ENCOURAGE AND CREATE STRATEGIES TO ENSURE THAT WE CAN ACHIEVE THIS PLAN’S GOALS AND KEEP THE SPIRIT OF THE PLAN ALIVE AS A DOCUMENT THAT IS UTILIZED AND REFERENCED BY STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, RESIDENTS AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
Update re-emphasizes the need to update regulations to ensure that they are consistent with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan.
Central to the continued success of this plan is a planning process that it easy to navigate for the type of development that is consistent with the community’s goals.
1. Enforce existing regulations
2. Make a best effort to provide updated technology and data electronically to all those who are involved in tracking the permitting process
3. Update the zoning code and land development regulations as necessary to ensure that they are consistent with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan and are clear, understandable, flexible, and easy to administer.
i. Review environmental, architectural and sanitary standards as they apply to Manitou, Lake Valhalla and Continental Village and other places where nonconforming lots create special circumstances
ii. Establish procedures for review boards to clarify issues for each application
4. Maintain a standing committee to oversee the continuing implementation and evolution of the Comprehensive Plan