Following a public hearing and regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Town of Highland will continue toward adoption of its 2012 Comprehensive Plan. The plan is under review by the Sullivan County Planning Department and may be taken up at the town’s March meeting for adoption.
Supervisor Andrew Boyar read through comments received since the October 25 public hearing on the plan and noted any corrections or changes that had been made.
In Highland, the comprehensive plan is updated every 10 years in conjunction with new U.S. Census data. The Comprehensive Plan Task Force was established in April 2007 and conducted a lengthy process including 16 working sessions open to the public, as well as four community-wide visioning sessions.
“The comprehensive plan is not a law, but rather principals, goals, policies and strategies relating to growth and development that form the basis for our regulations,” explained task force chair Carol Roig at a previous meeting.
Town of Highland resident Charles Petersheim said that he had not had a chance to review the plan, but wants to see it incorporate economic development. Task force member Debra Conway called the plan “extremely business-friendly.” Boyar added, “The tone of the plan is to enhance businesses and enterprise in the town.”
Petersheim asked if there is language related to mandatory conservation subdivision or to increasing recommended lot size throughout most of the town. “No and no,” replied Boyar.
“We carried over from the last comp plan  a recommendation that the planning board look into whether or not there might be parts of the town where cluster development would be appropriate,” added Roig.
The plan is available for public review on the town website at
townofhighlandny.com, at the town clerk’s office and Sunshine Library in Eldred, and at the government center in Monticello.
A two-phase zoning review based on the town’s Comprehensive Plan is now underway. The Phase I Task Force began meeting recently and the town is still seeking residents willing to serve on the Phase II Task Force. Those interested in participating are encouraged to make their interest known.
In other matters, the town has embarked on increased efforts to improve energy consumption and recently installed new energy-efficient lighting in the town buildings. The board also passed a motion to join the Town of Ulysses, NY in filing an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief in the two pending lawsuits involving Municipal Home Rule Law rights, pending approval of the brief by the town attorney.
The town has sent a letter to Senator John Bonacic, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Congressman Maurice Hinchey questioning the viability of the current plan to replace the historic Pond Eddy Bridge with a new bridge. “They want to build a $12 million bridge to service 12 homes,” said Boyar. “It would serve no benefit to New York State, but New York State would be spending $4 million and as you know, things are being cut in Albany that involve education and health and more. We’re in a crisis and I don’t think it’s a time to be spending money unwisely.”
A public hearing was scheduled for 6:45 p.m. on March 13 at the town hall to accept comments on a draft Code of Ethics policy for the town board. Call Boyar at 845/557-8901 for more information.