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Jerusalem presents sixth draft for Route 54A plan

    JERUSALEM—Thirteen residents turned out for the third and final public feedback session to hear details on Jerusalem’s proposed Route 54A Corridor Plan Saturday, Sept. 8.
    Residents heard a brief presentation from Consultant Matt Ingalls as he went over the different regulations the plan would implement. Ingalls said the committee wanted to start with a good plan and address the scope of the project.
    Committee Chairwoman Mary Coriale said they have had a number of committee meetings developing the plan and that they wanted to have some good dialogue as to what should happen in the future. She also said what was presented Saturday was the sixth version of the plan, and that a seventh and even an eighth draft were also possibilities. She said the public hearing for the corridor plan will most likely be set for the town board meeting Wednesday, Oct. 17.
    During the presentation, Ingalls said responses to surveys indicated people wanted the corridor to maintain a rural appeal. He said if passed, the corridor plan will require all new developments to conform to the natural contours of the land, forcing developers to “design with nature, not against it.”
Ingalls said this draft of the plan includes a scenic overlay district along Route 54A which will help to preserve scenic quality of the area it covers. He said it will not cover the entire district, and that those areas covered by the overlay district are still subject to the regulations of the existing district. Ingalls said this district ends at Sugar Creek, just east of Branchport.
    Coriale said with the increasing development interest in the region, the new zoning regulations would give the board more teeth in determining what sort of residential and commercial projects take place along 54A. She said it may seem like a lot of regulation, but it is meant to help people.
    Many of the residents who attended agreed they love the beauty of the region and would hate to see it altered by big commercial development. Coriale said it was a balancing act between letting in more uses and regulating the area to protect the scenic vistas. She said that while attendance since the first public feedback meeting in 2011 has dwindled, the committee still wants to hear opinions from those who would be affected by the plan.
    Ingalls said his presentation would be put up on the town website and it includes an email where residents can offer further feedback to committee members as they continue revising the plan.