By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Recorder News Staff
TOWN OF MOHAWK -- Dissolving the village of Fonda into the town, and the impact it would have on residents, is among the items town officials hope to address in an update to a comprehensive plan.
At Monday's planning board meeting in the town hall, Dale T. Francis, division manager at C.T. Male Associates, presented a proposal for updating the plan, which included a breakdown of the various steps involved, the issues that would be addressed, as well as the timeframe and cost.
"We are revising the original plan to be more current with what is going on around us such as economic development, proposed rail changes and others," Supervisor Ed Bishop said. "To us, quality of life is a big thing and that is what we are trying to address in this plan."
Francis said amending the original plan, which dates back to 2001, is estimated to cost $18,300 and would take approximately five months to complete.
In addition to dissolving the village into the town, other enhancements could include updating the demographic statistics based on the 2010 census bureau; addressing the influx of the Amish population during the past 20 years; planning for the potential of a regional business park and high-speed rail; updating the town maps; and deciding where future development would occur.
"This is something that should be done every 10 years," planning board chairman Mark Hoffman said. "It has to be stated that since the 2001 plan, what has happened, what the areas, are and what impacts it will have in the future."
Beside the preliminary list of projects, Hoffman said the increase in flooding during the past 10 years, which has resulted in repetitive damage to town facilities, needs to be addressed.
Board member Patrick Clear said that although a casino is no longer an issue for Montgomery County, the town needs to prepare for a project of similar size.
Bishop said he would like to look more into the proposed regional business park and the suggested rail spur that would connect rail service to the site as well as the proposed bypass connector off the Thruway, which is being handled by Fulton County.
"These were just some of the issues that were not in the original plan," Bishop said, adding that it is important for the residents to get involved. "The plan is what the residents expect of our town, whether they want it to be residential, industrial, or agricultural. It is what they expect from us moving forward."
If the funding is approved by the town board, the first step in creating the plan would be to hold a workshop with the planning and town boards to gather information on what parts of the plan would be updated and then prepare an initial draft outlining the enhancements.
"It could be adding a section to a chapter, inserting new paragraphs or deleting sections," Francis said. "It is a revisitation to an existing document, not a total rewrite."
The initial draft would then go before the public for review and input. Then an environmental assessment would be conducted before the final draft is created.
That draft would then be reviewed by the county, as well as the town board before final adoption.
Clear said they should try to offset the $18,300 cost on the taxpayers through assistance from the state.
Bishop said some funds were put aside in anticipation of the update but he agreed that it wouldn't hurt to try to get assistance to cover the remaining cost.
The town board needs to approve the funds before the plan can move forward. A resolution is expected to be voted on at the next town board meeting Sept. 11.