November 27, 2021

C’ville planning committee offers recommendations

Roadmap for the future

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Single-family houses sit next to businesses, which in turn sit next to small plazas, restaurants, churches and high-density apartment housing near Route 13 in Cortlandville. A new comprehensive plan the town is considering will incorporate a new vision to the neighborhood.

More sidewalks, a community center, while preserving the urban and rural mixture character could be what Cortlandville looks like 10 to 20 years from now after a presentation Thursday by the Cortlandville Comprehensive Plan Committee.

Jean Loewenstein, a principal planner with Clough, Harbour and Associates Consulting, Inc. in Albany, presented on key recommendations created by the Cortlandville Comprehensive Plan Committee at the town’s fire department before a breakout session where people could learn more about the plans for growth management and land use, infrastructure, transportation and resource conservation.

The plan, which would be the first update since 1978, would help guide the town for the next 10 to 20 years.

Visitors were also given an opportunity to prioritize which recommendations they thought were the most important. The leaders that Loewenstein presented:

  • Protect the aquifer.
  • Update uses for agricultural and residential zoning areas.
  • Create a new zoning district that provides a transition between rural and developed areas.

“We want to try and put forth recommendations that protects the environment and the people,” Loewenstein said.

These recommendations, along with an action plan based on the recommendations, will be finalized by the committee before going to the town board, which would have a public hearing before adopting the plan.

Loewenstein could not give a timeline for when this might take place.

Other recommendations included creating a community center, which Loewenstein said could be in the area of Cortlandville Town Hall off Route 13 and looking at ways to see what needs to be improved in the hamlet of Blodgett Mills.

Forrest Earl, a member of the comprehensive committee, said that from survey results taken prior to the recommendations, the future of the town may not involve great changes.

“Most people don’t want it to look a lot different,” he said. “They like the nature of the town. They like the rural character. They like the natural attributes.”

This thinking, he said, has helped with the recommendations, including building on land that has been previously built on before building on new land.

“Generally, the thought is, people don’t want it to change a lot and that’s kind of why some of these things are set up to preserve that character of the community,” he said.

However, transportation and accessibility need to be improved, residents said.

“Now people are wanting to get on their bikes, they want to walk on sidewalks and we don’t have a complete network for that,” said Ann Hotchkin, a member of the committee and the town’s planning board.

She said that the committee is also looking to improve the accessibility of the town for people who walk or ride bikes. This would be done through making streets that follow the Complete Streets Act, a state law that requires all state, county and local agencies to consider the convenience and mobility of all users when developing state and federally funded transportation projects, according to the committee’s recommendations.

Additionally, the committee is looking to improve access to public transportation, though Hotchkin did not have any specific details.

“If I could paint a picture of the town in the next 20 years, it would be that you could get on a bike and find some really nice bike paths and that we had sidewalks a little bit more throughout the town,” she said. “We have a lot of good things already. We just want to improve on what we have.”