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Public hearing held on comprehensive master plan

Sat, May 26th 2018 07:00 am
From left: Brian Kulpa of Clark Patterson Lee, Dan Drexelius, Deb Billoni, Councilman Pete Marston, Melanie Anderson of Clark Patterson Lee, Councilwoman Bev Kinney, Deputy Town Supervisor Jim Sharpe, Diane Evans, Paul Leuchner and Eric Fiebelkorn. (Photo by Alice E. Gerard)
From left: Brian Kulpa of Clark Patterson Lee, Dan Drexelius, Deb Billoni, Councilman Pete Marston, Melanie Anderson of Clark Patterson Lee, Councilwoman Bev Kinney, Deputy Town Supervisor Jim Sharpe, Diane Evans, Paul Leuchner and Eric Fiebelkorn. (Photo by Alice E. Gerard)
By Travis LeFevre
On Tuesday, Grand Island Deputy Supervisor and Committee Chair Jim Sharpe led a public meeting on the town's 2018 comprehensive plan update at the Grand Viking Theater at Grand Island High School.
The 2018 comprehensive plan serves as a guide for the direction of the town for the next 10-12 years.
Built by a committee consisting of 21 members including Sharpe, the plan was described as not being the typical "cookie cutter" plan one might see from another town.
"This is actually something that was written in a fashion that represented us. There's a process to it. It was thorough, comprehensive and analytical all the way through," said Sharpe.
Based on the demographics presented at the meeting, a majority of Grand Island residents are employed off the Island. One of the goals of this plan is to bring high-wage employers to keep residents working on Grand Island. According to Sharpe, this can be done through zoning, investing and marketing.
Among the goals laid out are the plans to add more trails and revamp the town center, Nike Base Park and the hamlets (residential areas with a business residing in them) around the Island.
Nathan Monin, a resident on Stony Point Road, voiced concerns over a trail proposed along the Empire Pipeline that would go through his neighborhood.
"My house doesn't face Stony Point, it actually faces my neighbor's house. It would go right through his property, but it would be not even 20 feet from my driveway," Monin said. "The privacy and the security we enjoy and the peace and quiet would really be gone. It would really make the property not desirable."
An alternative to this trail, widening Stony Point and putting the trail out on the road, was presented by town councilman and committee member Pete Marston.
For the town center in particular, conceptualized plans include a rain garden to protect wetland, an improved public plaza and more greenery throughout the area. The goal for the town center, according to "Bridging the Gap," is to meet the resident's want of "a true town center - a walkable, active environment with a mix of uses, public spaces, and development style that is as unique as the Island itself.
The last comprehensive plan was finalized in 1995 and revised in 1998, but since then has been in a state of limbo. According to Sharpe, this is something they want to avoid with the 2018 plan. "Instead of just turning around, taking a document and putting it on the shelf [that's been] sitting there for 20 years, [we should] take the document and update as frequently as possible; make it as current as possible and therefore make it a living document," he said.
One method presented to update the document and combat shelf dust is to have an annual review of the plan on assessing progress and prioritizing goals for the year to follow. Local government boards and committees are encouraged to emphasize its importance, expand support and keeping the community involved.
The plan will be funded by local means as well as looking into other opportunities via applying for grants available through the Consolidated Funding Application and the New York State Department of Transportation.
Before opening the floor to questions and comments, Sharpe clarified that, in its current state, this plan is not a law, but a concept.
"It is a document for all the dreams and wishes people have made. It is not a document that, once adopted, it becomes law and therefore everything in it becomes what it is," he said.
The plan was met with mostly positive reception by the few people who attended the meeting. A copy of the 2018 comprehensive plan can be found online at grandislandny.us and at the Grand Island Memorial Library. Public comments will be taken until June 12 and can be sent to [email protected].

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