In Irvington…Revisiting a Comprehensive Plan

Irvington’s Comprehensive Plan (CP), which guides development through zoning, is not that old. In fact, in 2003 the Village passed its most recent Comprehensive Plan which set forth the type of results residents wanted to see regarding development or lack thereof. The CP is simply the vision of how the Village wants to be developed. The Mayor and Board of Trustees realize there have been changes over the span of fourteen years and want to update it.

It will not be dismantled and rebuilt, rather, revisited and updated in certain areas.

Five different areas will be looked at within the Village by the CP Committee, which will be headed by the five members of the Board of Trustees and the chairs of the Planning Board, Architectural Review Board and the Zoning Board. These 8 people will be responsible for overseeing the update of the Plan. They will also form working groups of residents and focus on five main areas within the CP. These working groups will be of a very limited duration, and if the Village is able to form them by late February, they will meet amongst themselves, with additional help, and get their work done within approximately six weeks. This is not something that will go on for a year or so with different studies, etc. It will be of relatively short duration with definitive findings. At least one member of the CP Committee will be involved with each working group. Some groups may have two Committee members to assist them.

Following are the five areas that the Committee is looking at.  The first is the Village’s Downtown Area involving the business district and the lower portion of Main Street. There will also be a Code Modernization group looking at possible environmental updates within the Village’s code, multi-family housing updates and finally what is referred to as 21st Century updates like Airbnb and Uber – in essence, issues that Irvington’s code does not currently include. The third area is the Historic Irvington group, focusing on how the historic character of the Village is represented in the code. The Broadway Corridor is the fourth area, and they will look specifically at the main thoroughfare connecting one Rivertown to the next – what Irvington wants it to look like or not look like. Completely new streets fall into this category, and that means that with the creation of any new street pedestrians must have sidewalks, bicycles have paths and automobiles have roads. The last area is the Sustainability working group which will look into the use of alternative energy like solar and geothermal. Resiliency planning is also incorporated, which makes sure buildings and facilities are resilient in response to ongoing issues with climate change such as increased severity of storms and coastal flooding.

The rough timeline for the first public meeting is February 16. At that time the project will be outlined, and the Village hopes to invite people whom they think would interested in working with a group. Others may simply show up at the meeting, since the Village does intend to publicize it. By mid-April, whatever the groups’ findings are will be presented to the CP Committee members who will start to prioritize them. In mid-June a second public meeting will be held for feedback from the community, and updates will start to be drafted for the CP. It is anticipated that the process will carry over into the Fall as potential changes are narrowed down and required steps under New York State law are met.

The idea that the Comprehensive Plan update could be adopted by the end of November is certainly within reach, with the real work taking place by officials and residents over the next several months.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento