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Rockland master plan open for input tomorrow at Town Hall

By Dan Hust
LIVINGSTON MANOR — April 16, 2010 — Tomorrow (Saturday, April 17), every Town of Rockland resident and businessperson is invited to the town hall in Livingston Manor.
Because what will be unveiled and discussed at that 10 a.m. meeting will affect every single resident and businessperson in the town.
“We’re looking for comment,” affirms Pat Pomeroy, a Roscoe resident who started a comprehensive plan rewrite when she was Rockland’s supervisor.
Four years later, Pomeroy is no longer supervisor, but thanks to an amenable town board, she remains on the plan’s committee – as chair, in fact.
And in concert with six other dedicated committee volunteers, she’s ready to talk with the public about what’s workable and what’s not in what will ultimately become Rockland’s master plan.
The town, says Pomeroy, has had such a plan in place for half a century, but it’s not been substantively altered in that time.
So in 2006, she led the effort to revise it, starting with a community survey.
“We were so happy with that,” she remarked, noting that the 230 or so respondents represented a cross-section of ages and backgrounds in Rockland.
Those surveyed said they wanted their rural quality of life and environment preserved, but not at the expense of the kind of growth and tourism needed to sustain the economic base.
Not surprisingly in a town featuring world-famous but sometimes deadly trout streams, mitigating flooding was a top concern.
So with the help of Honesdale, PA-based planner Tom Shepstone, the plan committee set to work drafting recommendations to make to the town board.
Some of those recommendations include prohibiting building in flood-prone areas, rezoning the entire township to encourage growth and preservation in community-acceptable areas, upgrading infrastructure, enhancing and encouraging economic opportunity, and preparing for new industry like gas drilling (seen more as a transportation impact rather than a drilling issue).
A key aspect, says Pomeroy, is to harmonize the town’s citizenry with its natural assets.
“We need to be smart about where we build,” she explains, noting zoning changes should keep river floodplains in mind.
She admits that may be controversial, as it could take value away from existing properties, but that’s why she covets the public’s input.
Comments made at tomorrow’s meeting will be reviewed and incorporated into the master plan where appropriate, says Pomeroy, with the goal of having the town board adopt it into place by the fall.
Copies of the plan are currently available at the town hall, the libraries in Roscoe and Livingston Manor, and online at .pdf.
For those who can’t make Saturday’s gathering, Town Supervisor Ed Weitmann is accepting written comments addressed to him at P.O. Box 964, Livingston Manor, NY 12758.
He’s also accepting calls at 439-4399, ext. 301.
“It’s a long-term project of a lot of people who’ve put a lot of their time and thought into the project,” he affirms.
Now it’s the rest of the town’s turn.

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