December 1, 2010

Where is Varna, anyway?

There's a meeting at the Varna Community Center tonight to discuss a "Master Plan for Varna," but there's kind of a challenge in that very idea. Varna is a hamlet, and hamlets in this part of New York State are unincorporated places. The state puts up signs for them, but there's no official boundary.

It seems clear that the valley along Route 366 and Fall Creek, from about the F.H. Fox bridge to Forest Home Drive, is definitely Varna. As you go up the hills from there, it's less clear. Is Turkey Hill Road Varna? Is Route 366 out toward 13 Varna? How about Forest Lane and Monkey Run roads?

One of the first times I worked at the Varna pancake breakfast, an older resident told me in no uncertain terms that I didn't live in Varna. I was too far out, and the New York State Department of Transportation seemed to confirm that when they put the road sign about half a parcel west of my property line. Apart from that one woman and the DOT, pretty much everyone seems to agree that I live in Varna. (I'm slowly working to get the name "Robertson's Corners" in use for the intersection of 366 and Baker Hill Road, though.)

From a planning perspective, there's another complication, one I'm not very excited to point out. The Varna water and sewer districts mostly cover the "core hamlet" which the zoning defined as an amorphous mixed-use zone. The Turkey Hill and Monkey Run water and sewer districts cover an area running from about the intersection of Stevenson and Turkey Hill out to the 13/366 intersection. Apart from some commercial zoning near the intersection, most of that area has been marked Rural Agricultural, Rural Residential or even the more restrictive Neighborhood Residential in recent maps. It's escaped the "water plus sewer means build, baby, build!" that seems to have taken over recent iterations of the plan.

If Varna were ever to incorporate as a village, I'd recommend the water and sewer district boundaries (including Turkey Hill and Monkey Run) as the village boundaries. As things stand now, with the Town seeming far too fond of piling development into this corner, I'm not sure there's any way to convince residents along these outer and upper pieces of Varna that they want to call themselves Varna in this planning conversation.

Posted by simon at December 1, 2010 6:53 AM in ,
Note on photos