Despite Objections, County Comprehensive Plan Passes

By: Shawn Magrath

NORWICH – In spite of public objections from more than a dozen county residents, the Chenango County Board of Supervisors passed a comprehensive plan on Monday that will help steer the county’s economy, facilities, and services.

The 155-page document will help dictate future public policies in areas like transportation, land use, housing, and recreation; and to evaluate the needs of residents, businesses and institutions throughout the county.

But given that the plan omits recent developmental activities in the Chenango County region – including a proposal from the City of Norwich to install solar pannels in North Norwich, as well as the delay of the Constitution Pipeline natural gas delivery project – many residents and officeholders voiced concerns over its passing without it being updated first.

The Board heard concerns of the public during a hearing that was scheduled prior to voting on the plan on Monday.

“This plan is supposed to identify current needs and values of residents, businesses, and institutions as well as ‘present an evaluation of its heritage and cultural background,’” said New Berlin resident Earl Callahan. “We maintain that it fails and needs to be revised and brought up to date.”

“Based on my personal reading of this proposed plan, it’s my conclusion that without correction of the errors in the document; and without including discussion of the health impacts of the community of its proposals, the plan is a fatally flawed product that does not rise to a reasonable level in order to justify funding with public taxpayer support,” said Guilford resident Kenneth Fogarty.

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However, many county officials say the comprehensive plan is a living document that ought to be passed and then consistently reviewed and updated as things change. Projects like the solar project and the Constitution Pipeline come and go, said Preston Supervisor Pete Flanagan (who joined 20 other supervisors in a vote favoring the plan). There’s no telling how the viability of those projects will look tomorrow, he said.

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