The Town of Greenburgh earlier this year created a committee to interview firms to create a full-featured Comprehensive Plan for the unincorporated area of the town and then to work with the firm selected by the Town Board and others to help create the plan. The town is required by NYS to have a Comprehensive Plan. Two firms were selected for interviews and those interviews were videotaped. A question was raised at the last Town Board meeting regarding the re-playing of those interviews. They will play on the government cable access channel this weekend and next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, at noon and 8 PM, and Tuesday through Friday, at noon and 10 PM, unless pre-empted during the week by live programming. The interviews are also available anytime on the town’s Web site: www.GreenburghNY.com. Click on “Archived Town, Planning and Zoning Board Meetings,” and then on the 10/02/07 meeting.
A little background about the plan may be helpful. Work toward creating a full-featured Comprehensive Plan has been ongoing. On December 19, 2006, the Town Board, recognizing the need to address health, safety and welfare, quality of life, infrastructure, and economic development issues, approved $200,000 in the 2007 budget for the first of two phases of the plan. Then, by resolution dated March 14, 2007, the Town Board appointed a nine (9) member Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee charged with recommending a professional planning consultant and then working with the consultant and others to update and expand the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, to which I was appointed chair, consists of Planning Board Chair Frances McLaughlin (vice-chair), Planning Board member Walter Simon, Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Steven Belasco, Historic and Landmarks Preservation Board Chair Eda Burne, Conservation Advisory Council Chair Teresa Mae Tori, Community Liaison Madelon O’Shea, Community Liaison Ella Preiser, and Community Development and Planning Commissioner Mark Stellato.
On March 26, 2007, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) with a return date of April 27, 2007, which was published on the American Planning Association and New York Planning Federation Web sites, and distributed to any individual or consultant who requested a copy during the solicitation period.
The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee received ten (10) responses to the RFQ’s, and, after review of all the responses, the Committee prepared a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) which set forth the objective of the Comprehensive Plan update which is to evaluate potential future development in the Town; identify the defining character of the Town; identify the defining character and current development patterns of individual neighborhoods; and evaluate current, future and potential development patterns and pressures that will impact the Town, in order to provide a result that will be a vision of what the Town should be in the future.
On May 31, 2007, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, based upon the responses received from the RFQs and a review of the responding firm’s staff qualifications and experience in preparing Comprehensive Plans in New York State, sent the RFP to six (6) selected firms with a return date for the RFP of June 28, 2007. After receipt and extensive review by the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee of the responses to the RFP, the Committee selected five (5) consulting teams to be interviewed.
On July 26 and 27, 2007, over the course of eleven (11) hours, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee interviewed and considered all five (5) respondents to the RFP, and after interviewing all five (5) consulting teams, the Committee requested additional information from three (3) of the teams for further review and consideration. After receiving and reviewing the requested information, the Committee recommended that two (2) firms, Ferrandino & Associates Inc. of Elmsford, NY and the Laberge Group of Albany, NY, be interviewed by the Town Board.
On October 2, 2007, the Town Board interviewed both Ferrandino & Associates and the Laberge Group at a televised work session. As a result of the Town Board interviews of the two finalists, the Town Board found Ferrandino & Associates to have extensive experience in preparing Comprehensive Plans, planning and zoning reviews, neighborhood plans, special studies, and code revisions, and in developing Master Plans for a number of municipalities throughout Westchester County and New York State.
On October 9, 2007, the Town Board met with Ferrandino & Associates at its work session to refine the cost and scope of work required. As a result of those discussions, the board and Mr. Ferrandino agreed to a total cost for the plan to be $405,000 with no billing in 2008 above the $200,000 that has already been allocated, approved and dedicated in the 2007 budget for the Comprehensive Plan, allowing the town to immediately commence the Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan will be community comment driven. We will be coming to your neighborhood to hear your concerns and then have them addressed in the plan a comprehensive way. The key word here is “comprehensive.” The Ferrandino proposal under consideration includes promoting economic development to address the increased tax burden caused by the loss of more than $50,000,000 of assessed property valuation over the last 17 years even though construction and traffic has increased significantly over the same period, evaluating tax impacts of development choices on school and fire taxes which we also pay, reaching out to village and other abutting municipalities in developing the plan to avoid “border war development,” updating the town’s affordable housing study and significantly expanding affordable housing opportunities for our residents and their children who want to remain in the town, addressing Tappan Zee Bridge impacts, analyzing public facility and infrastructure needs so multiple municipal buildings (such as the library, police station, and court house) never again come up for replacement or significant renovation at the same time; addressing storm water management, public safety and emergency services, floodplain and flood prone area, critical wetlands and groundwater areas, solid waste management, recycling, leaf disposal, water supply, and waste water collection and treatment issues; addressing town recreation facilities, LEEDS/green building construction, transportation and parking needs, including on East Hartsdale Avenue, code enforcement planning and assessment, updating the Central Avenue corridor study, ensuring the adequacy and structural integrity of our roads, bridges and sidewalks, and much more. In short, the proposed Comprehensive Plan is designed to improve our residents’ quality of life, promote the community character we envision and provide needed support services, while findings ways to reduce the tax burden we all feel as development continues and traffic increases without guidance from a full-featured Comprehensive Plan.
I hope this has sparked your interest in participating in helping with the plan in your area or the town in general. You may find the interviews interesting. Additional consideration of this matter is ongoing and your input is welcome.
Francis Sheehan, Councilman and
Chair, Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee
Town of Greenburgh