To: Members of the Dryden Planning Board
From: David Weinstein
Re: Plan modification
After hearing the comments from the citizens, I suggest we need to improve the plan in a number of ways. I have suggested these below, to be made in Chapter 5, Recommendations with the exception of the addition of a map of currently active farms, to be added to Chapter 2.
A predominant theme I heard was that we had deviated somewhat from our mandate, which was to keep Dryden pretty much the way it is, a rural residential community with significant farming activities. In our concern to be ready for development, we created too many opportunities for large scale rapid change to current uses and character. There is no reason to do that, and it certainly goes against the overwhelming attitude voiced in the town survey. We need to protect existing farms and better buffer existing natural areas and sensitive environments (Unique Natural Areas and Wetlands).
It is of particular concern that so many people felt the character of their community could change rapidly under this plan. That is not what we had in mind, but looking back on the plan there are numerous pathways by which these types of changes could start happening. I don’t think any of us would be happy if we looked back 10 years from now and saw a town that had changed in character more rapidly than was necessary simply because the plan did not protect that character adequately.
Suggested changes to Plan Recommendations (1/21/04)
Varna and Etna hamlets:
1. Reduce density in hamlets to a maximum of 4 units per acre.
2. State that the goal is to enhance home ownership in hamlets. Innovative developments that are limited to home ownership will be given preference and allowed at higher densities than those allowing rental units (unless these are small units are within owner-occupied homes).
3. Limit apartment complexes to a maximum of 20 units.
4. Remove the “Industrial” zone from the Etna Ln/Rt 13/Kirk Rd triangle. Eliminate discussion of the example high density development from this area to eliminate intrusions into Etna Bird Sanctuary.
5. Clarify that plan is not recommending water and sewer be built in Etna, just that this area would be an appropriate place to put water and sewer if the local residents should desire it.
6. State that the town favors and encourages smaller scale developments instead of large apartment complexes. Such large complexes are a drain on town resources and move the character of the town in a direction away from its desired rural residential nature.
7. When discussing proposed land use plan, state that it is the towns intention to protect the ability of existing farms to remain in business. Existing farms must continue to be taxed as agricultural land regardless of surrounding encroachment from development, and their right to farm must be vigorously protected from nuisance complaints.
8. Should create new land use category for areas within new suburban residential zone that are currently farmed, such as west of Dryden village on Ferguson Rd., west of Etna on Etna Rd., north of Freeville on Rt 366, and south of Varna on Mt Pleasant Rd. This land use category should limit development to one residential unit per 10 acres while the majority of acreage in the area is actively farmed, but should revert to suburban residential densities once farming activity has ceased.
9. A map should be added indicating the locations of currently active farms.
10. Eliminate the suggested trail through Ellis Hollow. Since there is an enormous wetland in the middle of the Hollow, and since there is no existing railroad bed to reclaim into a trail, the construction of such a trail would be expensive, environmentally destructive to a sensitive area, and unpopular with residents. In other words, there is no way it would ever be built. We should state that a roadside trail or widened border adjacent to Ellis Hollow Rd is the only reasonable approach for providing improved bicycle access through Ellis Hollow.
11. Advocate more strongly for improved bus service.
12. Eliminate discussion of using Etna Rd / Hanshaw Rd as an alternative access to Rt 13 to Ithaca.
13. Advocate reduced speed limit on Rt 366 from Rt 13 to Freeville (north to Ed Hill Rd).
14. Change designation of land north of Dryden Lake from Rural Residential to a new use, “Cluster Conservation”, in which rural residential-type densities are allowed only with cluster development in which large portions of parcels become open space easements donated to town to preserve relatively open character of shoreline.
15. Note that not one person complained that the restriction of development in conservation land use unfairly stripped them of their rights.
16. State that large scale commercial development should not be encouraged in Dryden because it is not in keeping with the desired character of the town and it is not in the best interests of the town to compete with commercial centers in Ithaca and Cortland. Commercial development in Dryden should be oriented around serving the local population, not attracting outside visitors. We do not want to encourage MORE traffic.
17. Clarify that the “industrial” development envisioned in Dryden is light industry, office park, and research park. These are favored because the town wants developments that do not greatly increase noise or other types of environmental pollution.
18. Encourage reduced taxation of open land to acknowledge the reduced burden on town services that this type of land offers. Add information that documents this benefit.
19. Encourage significant reductions in taxation of open space that has been permanently preserved in conservation easements.
20. Reiterate that town will only put in water and sewer in areas if demand arises and the community supports it.
21. State that proposed developments requiring such services should be made to support the infrastructural improvements as a requirement for permit approval.
22. State that any proposed development along Rt 13 should be carefully evaluated with respect to its impact on the Fall Creek Aquifer.
23. State that the zoning revisions brought about by this plan should be contructed to limit rapid changes in community character. State that although the plan accommodates more than 5 times the anticipated need over the next 20 years, the desire is to encourage growth to remain at or below historical levels. I suggest we insure this by reducing the overall densities in suburban and rural land use areas.