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Truxton plans for future

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Truxton residents Shana O’Brien, 10, and Kathy Hartnett, left, walk their dogs Thursday near the Andy Tei Memorial in Truxton. Tei was a longtime music director at Truxton Central School.

Soon, Truxton may update its town comprehensive plan to reflect the wishes of town residents who had their say in a mail survey on what their town should be like.

The original Truxton comprehensive plan was adopted in 1990. Since then, the Hartnett Elementary School closed in 2015, but a group formed to gain state approval for a charter school. Residents have talked about wind and solar energy projects.

Meanwhile, Truxton has largely remained the same rural town since the original plan’s implementation.

The town had about 1,029 residents in 2015, according to U.S. Census data. That’s down from 1,133 in 2010 and 1,225 in 2000. It’s getting older, too, with a median age of 44 in 2015, up from 41.7 in 2010 and 35.6 in 2000.

Housing needs are declining, to 472 occupied units in 2015 from 490 in 2010 and 536 in 2000, Census data show.

A 10-member committee appointed by the Town Board worked from between August 2015 and January 2016 to produce a draft plan, issued in February 2016, and have public hearings. Supervisor Lloyd Sutton said the draft sat idle after it was created and he only got around recently to put it on the county Planning Board agenda.

“There’s no big urgency, but it’s something that needed to be taken care of,” Sutton said.

To gauge what Truxton residents want to see in their town, about 900 survey forms were mailed out to every residence in Truxton at the beginning of the process. A total of 244 surveys were returned for a response rate of 28.3 percent. The objectives of the plan were molded around the responses.

“They certainly want to maintain the rural nature,” Sutton said. “They didn’t want the character to change into large-scale industrial.”

Based on the survey responses, Truxton residents wish to:

* Maintain environmental quality and protect water resources.

* Maintain and restore historic town structures.

* Encourage agriculture.

* Support residential construction.

* Oppose more mobile home parks and apartment complexes.

* Provide job opportunities and expand the tax base, but not heavy industry.

* Maintain and improve roads.

* Maintain adequate fire protection and ambulance service.

Other towns that recently updated their comprehensive plans include Solon and Cuyler. Harford is working on updating its plan, as well.

Dan Dineen, the Cortland County Planning Department director, said that some towns review and update their plans frequently while some have plans that are 30 to 40 years old. Plans are updated to reflect new issues that rise in a town, such as solar energy or natural gas.

“They may change their philosophy on how they see commercial and residential development, so they add language for that,” Dineen said.

Sutton said that the Town Board will look at the recommendations the Planning Board made at its next meeting on Sept. 20. He expects the plan will be approved then, or perhaps the month after that.