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Clayton municipal officials will review new comprehensive plan  

The committee wrote a new chapter pertaining to renewable energy development to address local concerns about wind and solar projects in Jefferson County.

The chapter includes technological information about alternative energy systems, including two columns for both small and large wind energy facilities, descriptions of county and Canadian wind projects and renewable energy trends. Using this information, the committee also included tables with factors planning and zoning boards should consider when reviewing wind and solar projects including location, design, setbacks and potential environmental and visual impacts.

Credit:  By Marcus Wolf | Watertown Daily Times | January 10, 2017 | www.watertowndailytimes.com ~~

CLAYTON – Municipal officials from the town and village will determine whether to ratify their rewritten comprehensive plan after years of revision next week.

Douglas E. Rogers, chairman of the Joint Town-Village Comprehensive Plan Committee, submitted a resolution to both the Town Council and village Board of Trustees to consider adopting their more than 170-page draft plan last week. Both boards will hold a joint public hearing at 6 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Municipal Building, 250 Mary St.

While a comprehensive plan is not a law, joint town-village planning and zoning boards adhere to its recommendations when creating zoning amendments and regulating development. According to the updated draft, all zoning amendments must coincide with the comprehensive plan, including the proposed town wind law.

“We made sure that the document we put in place will provide an impetus for future growth,” Mr. Rogers said.

The committee expanded several sections in the previous 57-page plan, which was adopted in 2000, and composed new chapters since it began revising the plan in 2014. Mr. Rogers said the committee used public input to create guidelines that addressed recent initiatives like the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and concerns about parking, public access and waterfront development. The committee also incorporated new surveys, maps and facility lists to reflect updated demographic information, economic trends and operating businesses, he said.

“Everybody likes the way our community is, but we have to be able to grow and bring in the kind of development we want,” said Kenneth J. Knapp, a member of both the committee and the Joint Zoning Board of Appeals.

The committee wrote a new chapter pertaining to renewable energy development to address local concerns about wind and solar projects in Jefferson County.

The chapter includes technological information about alternative energy systems, including two columns for both small and large wind energy facilities, descriptions of county and Canadian wind projects and renewable energy trends. Using this information, the committee also included tables with factors planning and zoning boards should consider when reviewing wind and solar projects including location, design, setbacks and potential environmental and visual impacts.

“Obviously, renewable energy is a key element regarding future development,” Mr. Rogers said.

The committee also expanded the land use section, which Mr. Rogers said is crucial for establishing zoning development guidelines, from a few sections to two chapters.

The 54-page section describes the percentage and descriptions of each type of land and columns of town and village characteristics to consider when evaluating future development projects. Mr. Rogers said that the committee focused on including considerations about promoting “walkability,” maintaining the municipalities’ “residential character” and preserving the scenic overlay district along Route 12 and Route 12E.

“To me, those are our key chapters,” Mr. Rogers said.

Another section the committee expanded to reflect public interest, particularly for environmental conservation, was the natural resources chapter.

The chapter describes the scenic resources, watersheds, local wildlife and their nearby habitats in and around the town’s borders. The committee also included town maps depicting its topography, geology, climate and soils, as well as a map showing its relative location in avian migratory flight patterns.

“We went into a little more depth on what natural resources there are,” Mr. Knapp said. “That was a big deal with environmentalists.”

Three committees tried to revise the plan over the past six years, Mr. Knapp said, but revisions were delayed because the previous two committees struggled with complex state zoning regulations and the town and village boards invested more time creating the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and facilitating plans for the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel.

Jefferson County Planning Board Senior Planner Andrew R. Nevin assisted the third committee with revisions, Mr. Knapp said.

“It’s very difficult for people who are not well-versed in (state zoning regulations),” he said. “A lot of credit is due to Jefferson County Planning and their ability to facilitate.”

The town and village boards must review their plan every five years in order to have it “serve as an evolving document,” according to the comprehensive plan.

“I feel good about it and it’ll be a good thing to put to bed,” said Mayor Norma J. Zimmer. “It’s just a great tool for the planning board to use.”

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  By Marcus Wolf | Watertown Daily Times | January 10, 2017 | www.watertowndailytimes.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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