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Saratoga Springs Approves New Comprehensive Plan

Saratoga Springs City Hall
Lucas Willard

The City of Saratoga Springs has a new comprehensive plan after two years of meetings and debates. It replaces a document that had been in place since 2001.

Before the passage of the new Comprehensive Plan, Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen addressed the audience at Tuesday's city council meeting.

"As so many of you know, this is a night about two years in the making, so really I want to thank all the members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee,. some of whom are here this evening. This a product of a tireless amount of work, and we're very fortunate to have so many citizens involved throughout this entire process."

Geoff Bornemann, former chair of the committee, urged the city council to adopt the document that was turned in in an unfinished form late last year.

"I'm especially thankful that you picked up the  process after the committee gave it to you back in December. That's an unusual thing to do, and for you to take up the document that was 95 percent complete, and to have to sort out the final remaining items is very much appreciated, and thank you very much for bringing this to completion."

Over the course of  20 planning meetings, plus workshops and hearings, the Comprehensive Planning Committee and later the city council honed what would become the final document. In the process some of the most controversial items were cut out.

Much of the arguing over the past several months was related to the city's so-called Greenbelt. Last November, the city council voted to remove Planned Unit Developments — or PUDs — from the Greenbelt.

A resort-overlay district to encompass an expansion proposal by Saratoga National Golf Club was also withdrawn from the comprehensive plan, as was a plan to re-zone a 177-acre parcel owned by the D'Andrea family.

The committee itself was mired in turmoil as well, with several members last year requesting to have their names removed from the final document.

But those who spoke Tuesday night were congratulatory.

Harry Moran, Chair of Sustainable Saratoga, said the plan is "visionary and challenging while remaining realistic and actionable."

"The 2001 plan included many best practices that helped foster the success the city is now enjoying. The 2015 plan will build on that and strengthen this city's position as one of the most attractive places to live, work, and play anywhere."

The council members gave their support as well with a unanimous vote.

Also approved by the city council Tuesday night was a measure to purchase the development rights to the 166-acre Pitney Farm. The city's 2015 budget will be amended by $1.165 million for the purchase of the development rights.

Organization Saratoga PLAN announced in March that it would purchase the farm and that it envisions the property as a "farm hub for the region."

For more information on the 2015 Comprehensive Plan visit: http://www.saratoga-springs.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1089:comprehensive-plan-workshop&catid=35:committees&Itemid=123

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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