Monday, July 30, 2007

2007 Saratoga Springs Comprehensive Plan

Since the weather has turned balmy, I'd like to avoid the heated issues (for now) and focus on the 2007 Comprehensive Plan for Saratoga Springs.
I served on the Mayor Keehn's committee to rewrite the old Comprehensive Plan 0f 2001. That plan's main author was Jeff Pfeil -- any wonder then that our city was hit by a new wave of aggressive development? Not only did the condo craze take us by surprise, but the transect zone became the fashion jacking up those downtown buildings to 80 feet and putting them right on top of each other (i.e. the new structure next to the Weise building)and the street. Saratoga once offered its visitors a respite from the big city. Now what?
The new comprehensive plan is an attempt to re-vision the direction of our historic city and get it back on track in terms of growth and sustainability. The latter is a term that our committee wrestled with as have all cities that care about balancing bottom line issues with human and environmental concerns. At the heart of sustainability is the question -- does what our city do today in terms of housing,transportation, taxation, water usage, etc. negatively impact the ability of future generations to survive?
We had a number of good discussions over the eight months during which we met. There are many interesting additions and changes in the new comprehensive plan and I urge as many of the residents of Saratoga to read it.

Just one reminder, though. The ideas included in the plan are recommendations to the city which must be voted on by the members of the city council. The plan has many good ideas in it, but they will not be enacted unless enough people take an interest and make their opinions known to the city council. Copies of the plan can be found at the Saratoga public library and the city planning office. A lot of public comment went into the writing of this document and I urge everyone who cares about the future of our city in the country to read it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Found on Ben Arnold blogspot:

"Dear "truth" squad,

The whole purpose of the 2001 Comp Plan was to direct development downtown from the outskirts. This goal was shared by nearly everyone in the community.....most notably local environmentalists. Real "greens" encourage density in urban areas.....something they call "smart growth".

INCREASING density is necessary, from an environmental standpoint, to help offset the City's Jobs/Housing imbalance which necessitates thousands of additional vehicle trips to and from the City on a daily basis.

The Transect zones had absolutely nothing to do with the 2001 Comp Plan, they were the sole product of the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee, which recommended the zones without the benefit of a single reference to the 01 plan. The Chair of the ZORC was Mike Welti, an environmentalist and a fine human being. If you want to place blame for sensible "smart growth" downtown, blame him.

In your rush to attack Jeff Pfeil, presumably because he's a developer, you conveniently ignore the fact that the 2001 plan DID downzone vast areas of the City and DID recommend the creation of the City's Conservation Development Districts in places like the Pitney Farm......Again, all done with the full support of the City's influential environmental lobby.

The current committee's document again recommends less density in the City. "Truth" is, your committee is more concerned with protecting subjective "character" than protecting the environment.

Way to go!

Posted by Ben Arnold"