July 18, 2008

Consultant Reviews Goals of Plan for Town of Pomfret

By Holly Hewitt

A public meeting on the draft goals and objectives of the Town of Pomfret Comprehensive Plan is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 5 at a location yet to be announced. The probable site of the meeting will be Fredonia High School.

Wendy Weber Salvati of Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers in Amherst, the consultant firm hired by the town, met with the Town Planning Board on Thursday night to go over the draft goals and objectives.

She told the board that these will set the framework for the rest of the comprehensive plan, now in the initial stages of development. The comprehensive plan will guide the growth of the township over the next 10 to 15 years, she said.

She also stressed the importance of encouraging as many people as possible to attend the Aug. 5 meeting, when suggestions and comments will be sought from town residents. Supervisor Donald Steger will see that the goals and objects are placed on the town's Web site.

The Planning Board received a grant from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to help develop the comprehensive plan. Consequently, the plan's main focus is preservation of agriculture in the town. Salvati showed the board a map that designates where the prime agricultural soils are.

"We want to protect these soils," she said, as well as the viable farm land areas.

Other items listed for protection are groundwater quality, the rural character of the town and its cultural and historical resources, scenic views, lakes and streams, natural drainage, floodplains and wetlands, wildlife habitats, recreational areas, property values and good relations with the Village of Fredonia and Fredonia State College.

Under goals and objectives, it was also stated that future growth patterns, as well as land use policies and conservation measures, should be respectful of agricultural operations, support agriculture and protect productive farmland. Agri-tourism should be promoted as a means of enhancing the economic vitality of agriculture and viticulture.

Additionally, the statement said that Lily Dale is an important cultural, historic and recreational center and should be preserved and promoted.

In addressing the necessity of potable water, the goals and objectives list points out that most of that water comes from private wells in the town, and groundwater and surface water resources should be protected from contamination from failing septic systems and other sources of pollution.

One of the goals involves improving farming practices to protect the quality of groundwater and the environment. The goals also include provision for public water in areas of denser development and where additional growth is appropriate to help guide where development occurs.

Development should not sacrifice viable farmland, the draft goals say. Target areas for new business and industry should be along major transportation corridors and in areas with adequate infrastructure.

Following the Aug. 5 meeting, Salvati will begin an analysis of the input received from the public at the meeting. She then will begin to develop findings and recommendations which will be brought back to the board.

Originally published by CHAUTAUQUA CORRESPONDENT.

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