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Town of Hounsfield schedules pair of meetings to talk comprehensive plan

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Hounsfield residents may give input on the direction of the town during a pair of meetings this week.

The town has been working on creating a new comprehensive plan for about the past year and a half, pairing with the Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University.

“In today’s world, it’s important to have a comprehensive plan so you can get the community’s picture of what they’d like to see into the future,” town Supervisor Timothy W. Scee said.

Mr. Scee said the creation of a plan would help when submitting grant proposals.

The two meetings will be at the town office, 18774 County Route 66. The first will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and the second will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Mr. Scee said the town has created a list of categories of growth to cover during the meeting, such as housing, agriculture and commercial development.

He said the town has seen large growth within the past 10 years in single-family housing connected to the expansion of the town’s water districts. On the horizon for the town is expanded growth at Watertown International Airport and a planned business park.

“We’re so early into this; all we’ve done for this is become a partner” with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, he said. “We haven’t done anything, and I think that’s the next step we need to take.”

Khristopher A. Dodson, the center’s senior program manager, said the input generated at this week’s sessions will be used to create recommendations to the Town Council.

Mr. Scee said he hoped the council could vote on a comprehensive plan in July.

Last fall, the town sent a survey to residents about the plan, which has been compiled since then by student interns of the Environmental Finance Center. Mr. Dodson said the survey had about 300 responses out of about 1,300 potential resident votes, or 23 percent of residents.

“People are interested and engaged here,” he said. “Usually if you get five percent you’re patting yourself on the back.”

Among the things mentioned by respondents to the survey, Mr. Dodson said, was a high interest in recreational offerings along with shopping and medical options.

“It’ll be interesting to see what the town’s role can be for creating an environment for those facilities to come in,” Mr. Dodson said.

The town paid about $3,500 for the center’s assistance, but Mr. Dodson said the true cost for its work was about three times that figure. However, he said, the center’s work received federal grant subsidies, which reduced the town’s costs.

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