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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 16, 2010

Making the link in New Scotland

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Planning in the northeastern part of town, which encompasses the commercial zone at the center of recent debate over development, is slated to take a step forward.

In March, the Capital District Transportation Committee awarded a $42,500 grant to New Scotland to study transportation and land use in that area.  The town will contribute $12,500, for a total study budget of $55,000.

There are three basic goals for the project, said Katy O’Rourke, who helped identify the grant and submit the application for it:  First, to develop a general vision, or master plan, for the area; second, to get help with updating the town’s zoning code to reflect the master plan; and third, to get help with design guidelines.

The bulk of the grant money will be used to hire a professional planner — the first step in that process is currently underway.  CDTC has drafted a request for expressions of interest, which is being reviewed by the town board, and it will soon be made public to garner bids from planners. 

A committee made up of representatives from CDTC, New Scotland, the state’s Department of Transportation, and the Capital District Transportation Authority will choose a planner.  Once the planner is hired, O’Rourke expects the process, including citizen input, to take about nine months.

“The grant proposes to analyze existing land uses, environmental features of the area, existing linkages with trails and public transportation, and traffic impacts,” according to the grant proposal.  “The process is envisioned to be an inclusive, public participatory process with input from the town board, planning and zoning boards, relevant town staff and consultants; and other stakeholders such as area landowners, residents and businesses.”

The thrust of the Linkage Program, which is funding the grant, is that integrated transportation and land-use planning results in good development.  The program came out of the long-range metropolitan transportation plan, known as New Visions 2030.

That plan follows four themes:

“To preserve and manage the existing investment in the region’s transportation system;

To develop the region’s potential to grow into a uniquely attractive, vibrant and diverse metropolitan area;

To link transportation and land use planning to meet the plan’s goals for urban reinvestment, concentrated development patterns and smart economic growth; and

To plan and build for all modes of transportation, including pedestrian, bicycle, public transit, cars and trucks,” according to the CDTC.

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