L to E: Master planning for the future is difficult with development projects hanging over us

An outdoor session is planned for 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. in Gedney Park on Wednesday, June 4
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
by Scottie Guerney

I attended the master planning outreach session last Wednesday. This morning meeting sponsored by the League of Women Voters drew approximately 25 residents. I have several positive comments on the process as well as some concerns.

In terms of the actual session, I very much appreciated the Pace Land Use Law Center facilitator’s ability to keep the crowd on topic and respectful of the various voices. While certain ideas were repeated, she made every effort to accurately represent each resident’s comments and then elicit additional thoughts. While those present didn’t agree on everything, it appeared to be a respectful exchange of ideas. On five different topics, facilitators asked what we liked about each, what we disliked, and what strategies we thought might help fix what we don’t like. (An outdoor session facilitated by Pace is planned for 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. in Gedney Park on Wednesday, June 4.  The town will provide staff to watch children people may need to bring.)

What I found most challenging was finding a balance between the need to create a long-range vision for our town and the large projects/developments hanging over us today, such as retail at Chappaqua Crossing and a move of town hall. I feel it is quite difficult to separate the current issues from what should be a discussion of forward vision. Of course each of the current topics deserves an open forum for discussion and debate, but it is impossible to look ahead when most of us are so focused on specific development issues.

Finally, while I don’t know how many have attended the previous four sessions, it can’t be more than 250, total. I do believe that our town must find a way, perhaps through a survey, to reach a wider number of residents. I believe these meetings should only be one aspect of this initial outreach phase. For many of us, committing three hours on a weeknight or weekend morning is not possible. In addition, others might not attend if they are hesitant to publicly share their opinions. I encourage our town board to initiate a process to reach more people. All voices are critical to this process, not just those that could attend one of these meetings.

Related:  A peek into the community outreach sessions gathering input for the Master Plan, NCNOW.org, 5/24/14, by Brett Klein

Master Plan Outreach: An OUTDOOR chance to tell us about the future of Your New Castle, NCNOW.org, 6/3/14

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