A joint vision of the future

It was a long meeting, and a lot was discussed. But the joint meeting of the North East and Millerton boards and staff on Thursday, March 1, regarding the comprehensive plan update was incredibly productive.

There were seven members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Update Committee present, along with planning consultants and many, many members of town and village planning and zoning boards. The collective energy was focused — the amount of information discussed, intense.

Led by planning consultant Nan Stolzenburg, the meeting lasted for two hours. 

Goals were addressed, and those present did their best to contribute to the plan — essentially a community vision statement for the next 10 to 15 years. 

The final document is not a law, stressed Stolzenburg, but it does provide a framework for any future zoning and land-use laws the town and/or village might want to adopt.

Stolzenburg masterfully led the committee and those in the audience in the workshop-style meeting. She asked for goals, challenges, solutions and more as the two municipalities envision their future.

Those at the meeting spoke about local strengths, some of which follow below:

The intimacy of living in a small community

Young people

The Moviehouse

The local coffeehouses

Eddie Collins Park

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail

Natural beauty

The North East Community Center

Spring for Sound

The arts community

The volunteer base

Local private schools

The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

Accessibility to New York City

Being at the crossroads of the Berkshires, Connecticut and New York

The issues typically covered in a comprehensive plan were covered: land-use issues, economic development, natural resources and infrastructure, to name a few.

Priority actions were named, led by grant writing — key to implementing the comprehensive plan and executing projects that will help define the community’s future development.

These issues and more are discussed in great detail in an article on this week’s front page. We recommend you read that article to get a strong hold on what the comprehensive plan will address, and how. 

In this editorial space, though, we’d like to especially commend those on the committee and those who attended last week’s meeting. The collaborative spirit, the sense of cooperation, the clarity of thought and the energy and enthusiasm of all present was truly impressive.

We hope that the survey the committee created — to be sent out to all residents in the town and village — will be taken seriously. A comprehensive plan is only as good as those who help envision it, and now is your chance to do exactly that. So take a few minutes to respond. 

As committee Chair Edie Greenwood said, “it’s exciting” to see how many people are getting involved, and she’s hopeful more will through the survey.

The committee is making it simple. Not only will the surveys turn up in the mail, they’ll be available on the NorthEast/Millerton Facebook page; on the town website, at www.townofnortheastny.gov; on the village website, at www.villageofmillerton.net; and on the library website, at www.nemillertonlibrary.org.

All you need to do is take a minute to respond. Nice and easy.