After eight years, all 12 chapters of the Southold Town Comprehensive Plan have now been completed.
At a work session Tuesday, town planning director Heather Lanza outlined several remaining steps that must be taken before the Town Board can formally adopt the plan.
During her presentation, she recommended that the board hire AKRF Inc., an environmental engineering firm, to complete a State Environmental Quality Review Act review pursuant to New York State law at a cost of $34,500.
Ms. Lanza also reviewed proposals received for graphic design, formatting and editing of the comprehensive plan and recommended retaining AKRF to complete that work as well for an additional $34,950. Both the graphic design costs and SEQRA review will be funded by state grants, she said.
“We want to make it easier to read, take the numbers in the plan and make it into easy-to-understand graphics. That’s mainly for the public,” Ms. Lanza said, who will have an opportunity to review the material before public hearings on the plan are scheduled. “[The plan] has two purposes. One is for the public and the other is for government agencies, including the Town Board, to be able to use in detail so you know you’re being consistent with it when looking at new legislation.”
Planning staff have also been editing completed chapters of the plan, some of which were written several years ago, to include more recent data. For example, the original economic development chapter recommended forming an economic development committee, which was created soon after the chapter was completed in 2011.
Ms. Lanza said many facets of the Comprehensive Plan reflect ongoing town initiatives, such as addressing the need for more affordable housing and continuing to preserve land.
“We’ve already been doing all of this, but it’s good to have it in the plan,” she said.
Completing the Comprehensive Plan, an effort that began in 2010, took over 3,000 hours, 64 public meetings to date and $106,990 that the state will reimburse, according to Ms. Lanza.
She anticipates that AKRF will be able to complete its work by the end of May, at which point additional public outreach can begin.
At the work session, Supervisor Scott Russell reiterated that the Comprehensive Plan is more than just a zoning map, but will provide the underlying support for decisions made in the future.
“It doesn’t just guide the town, it defends the decision making down the road,” he said.
The completed plan can be reviewed online at http://www.southoldtownny.gov/123/Comprehensive-Plan.