The Comprehensive Plan

Posted: May 7, 2010 in Vision

Beginning in 2001 and finishing in 2003, Amsterdam’s Comprehensive Plan initiative provided us with an unprecedented resource for crafting vision and direction for the city’s revitalization efforts.  The finished product, a 71 page report, along with  241 pages of appendices, provides us with the most well thought out and balanced collection of information and ideas as to how Amsterdam got to its current situation, what our current strengths and weaknesses are, and where we need to go in the future.  The report was put together by The Saratoga Associates in cooperation with a bi-partisan committee of local leaders and residents, and incorporated input from multiple community group discussions. You can download the report here and the appendices here.

Unfortunately, since the plan’s adoption by the Common Council in 2003, the initiative seems to have faded into the background. Very few people know about, much less understand what’s in the plan.  To their credit, our city’s government leaders have made some progress in implementing some of the areas of the plan, but overall, there hasn’t been much success at energizing the whole city around a unified vision for our future. Part of the difficulty lies in that the plan paints mostly in broad strokes. It identifies the directions we need to go in and the areas we need to improve. It even makes some specific suggestions as to what to do first. But it doesn’t tell us exactly how to organize and execute strategies to bring these changes about.  In fact, the plan calls for a standing committee to be established that will update and expand on the original plan on a regular basis. So far this hasn’t been implemented.  In order for the plan to be of any good use to our city, our citizens, business leaders, community leaders and government leaders have to be  informed about and be on board with the plan. Otherwise all the hard work that went into it will go to waste.

  1. I have to give Mayor Thane credit for attempting to make the public aware of the plan and for implementing parts of the plan which were ignored by previous administrations. One of the first steps in the plan was to rewrite the zoning ordinance.

    Once the Common Council approved the County Planning Board to take on this task, the Mayor formulated a Zoning Update Committee of which I am a member. Although slated for immediate action, our first meeting was in October of 2009.
    We meet in the Council Chamber at City Hall the last Wednesday of every month @ 6PM. It is a public meeting subject to the provisions of the open meeting law.

    • Tim Becker says:

      Hi Jerry – I give Mayor Thane credit too, she has made starts in several areas. Thanks for bringing attention to the Zoning Update Committee, that is an important part and I am glad to hear it is progressing. I’ll be posting several articles on various parts of the comp. plan – always glad to hear your comments.

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