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Winter 2019 Announcements

OC Comprehensive Plan Seeks Public Input in Final Comment Period

The County Comprehensive Plan has been presented to the Legislature’s Rules, Enactments and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. The Orange County Legislature has declared itself to be Lead Agency for purposes of SEQR, and is holding public hearings on February 27, 2019, 3:00 p.m and March 20, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.. The first public hearing will be held on Wednesday, February 27th at 3:00 p.m. at the SUNY Newburgh Campus located at One Washington Center, Newburgh, NY 12550 and the second one will now be held on Wednesday, March 20th at 5:00 p.m. in the Legislative Chamber (3rd Floor), 255 Main Street.

Please join us to share your thoughts regarding the proposed County Comprehensive Plan.

Agriculture Solar Policy: Avoid Prime Soils

Next month marks the annual kickoff of the County’s Annual Agricultural District Review, during which time farmers can apply to be considered for the distinction. During the month of March, landowners can apply to have their viable farmland enrolled into Orange County Agricultural District 1 or 2. (Please note that land cannot be removed during the Annual Agricultural District Review Period; this can only be done during the Eight-Year Agricultural District Enrollment Period, which will next be in 2020.) Completed applications are reviewed by the Orange County Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) at its April meeting and the AFPB conducts site visits of the properties proposed for inclusion in early April. After the site visits and the April AFPB meeting, a recommendation is made to the County Legislature for each property, either to be included or not included.

Orange County has two agricultural districts; State Route 17 divides the two. Orange County Agricultural District 1, east of State Route 17, consists of approximately 68,134 acres, up from 67,930 acres in spring 2018. Orange County Agricultural District 2, west of State Route 17, consists of approximately 94,684 acres, and has not added any additional acreage since spring 2018. As of 2015, there were about 658 farms working 88,000 acres of land – about 17% of the County. This farmland is key to maintaining open space within the County, since this farmland remains undeveloped as the farmers work the land.

To apply, use the application form located here or contact the Orange County Planning Department at (845) 615-3840 to get a copy of the application. Completed applications should be sent to the Orange County Planning Department, 124 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. For more information on the Agricultural District Review, please see the following article published in the Spring 2018 Edition of The Resource, found here.

Western County Transportation Study to Begin in February

The Orange County Transportation Council (OCTC) is set to kick off a transportation and land use study on February 26th. The study will result in short and longer-range recommendations related to transportation, transit, traffic engineering, roadway and intersection design, access management, truck and inter-modal freight, and sustainable land use policies throughout the Western part of Orange County. In addition, focused sets of recommendations will be prepared for corridors and smaller geographic areas within the study area which will be examined in greater detail. A particular area of focus will include transit in the Middletown area. Project objectives include: traffic analyses, assessing existing and potential future travel conditions, traffic and transit ridership volumes, safety and operational conditions, forecasting future traffic volumes, utilizing the County travel demand model, analyzing the resulting traffic patterns and volumes from the model runs and making recommendations concerning improvements, and integrating findings with current land use planning. 

The consultant selected to lead the study is AKRF, Inc. Public input will help to inform and shape the future of the corridors and land use development in Western Orange County. OCTC, in conjunction with the consultant, will hold a series of public workshops to offer an opportunity for the public and agencies to provide input and comment on the study.