Comprehensive Plan to be revived

The dust that settled on the village of Fredonia’s draft Comprehensive Plan is being wiped off by village officials and some residents.

During a recent Fredonia Village Board regular meeting, Mayor Stephen Keefe discussed bringing the plan back to life by having board members read it over in its most recent form and suggest possible updates and edits. A public hearing was held for the plan in early 2011, during Michael Sullivan’s term as mayor, but was never officially voted on by the board.

“I think it’s time we take action on the Comprehen-sive Plan,” Keefe said, adding he would like the board to act on it sometime in January.

“It’s a good thing to go back over it again since it’s supposed to be updated every three to five years, anyway,” Trustee Susan Mackay said. “It’s a living document, as they say.”

The recent interest in the Comprehensive Plan stems from a community meeting held by the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services in the village hall. There, Healthy Communities Con-sultant Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller and Andrew Schrauth of the urban and regional planning firm Peter J. Smith & Company, Inc. went over details of the Complete Streets Program.

“Complete Streets revolves around the access and mobility for everyone,” Schrauth explained. “Everyone’s got a share; it’s not all about vehicles taking up the roadway, so to speak, but we’re (also) not all pedestrians, not all bikers. It’s everyone taking turns. It deals with bicycles, automobiles, pedestrians and transit. It’s pretty much taking everyone’s needs and putting them in the street in kind of a balanced format.”

Schrauth said the advantages of Complete Streets are that it allows for a better quality of life; it allows traffic to move better; it is safer; it helps in economic development; and it is more aesthetically pleasing.

Each program must be catered and designed around where it is being done, making the program “site-sensitive.”

The municipality involved usually takes the reins in the planning process, allowing it to set the vision for its own streets.

“It’s been pretty clear with communities across the country with Complete Streets that if you build it, they will come,” Schmidt-frerick-Miller said. “It tends to be a case where people have a place where they feel safe to walk or bicycle, they’re more likely to do that.”

“I walk all the time and I walk with my grandchildren and I can tell you the danger of crossing streets downtown,” Fredonia resident Judi Lutz Woods said during the community meeting. “I can’t tell you how many times, and I make my grandchildren wait until the ‘walk’ sign comes on, and would still have almost been killed. We’re talking about literal safety.”

Schmidtfrerick-Miller said she is looking to the village to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance, which “commits the community to looking at transportation projects as opportunities to improve traffic flow and to improve usability for everybody.” This means that when funding becomes available for implementing Complete Streets, the community is ready to take advantage of that funding.

“You never really know when funding opportunities arise. Sometimes there can be little to no notice ahead of it,” she added. “We’re really working to get communities ready for when there are transportation projects. The community has to know a project is coming, which is one thing, but the community also has to know what they want.”

Keefe said he is hoping to couple the Complete Streets ordinance with the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, which is intended to outline transportation policies (among other policies) within the village.

Schmidtfrerick-Miller said additional community meetings on the Complete Streets Program for the village will be set up in the near future, with the possibility of an ad hoc committee being formed.

“I haven’t read (the plan) in a long time, but I don’t think pedestrian safety, at the level we need to address it in this community, was addressed at all,” Keefe said regarding the need to update the plan. He also cited the dangers of crossing Main Street and Central Avenue (which recently had a new crosswalk installed).

Copies of the Comprehensive Plan are available to the public and can be found in the village clerk’s office.

Also during the village board’s regular meeting, a resolution was approved that allows for Tolman Engineering, PLLC of Jamestown to review an engineering report and plans for a water pumping station in the town of Pomfret’s North End Water District.

“The village desires to cooperate with the town, but at the same time the board believes it must make sure the water pumping station does not create any problems with the village water system and that the village water system is protected,” the resolution stated.

Fredonia is asking Pomfret to pay for the engineering fees of reviewing the report and plans, which are not to exceed $1,000.

The village must sign off on the pump station since it would result in an alteration in the water district contract between the village and the town.

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