A Workshop on the Orange County Comprehensive Plan

A Workshop on the Orange County Comprehensive Plan

A Unique Opportunity for Public Input SHAPING ORANGE COUNTY┬╣S FUTURE

Orange Environment, Inc., a non-profit environmental organization based in Goshen, announced today the first in a series of workshops intended to involve the public in reshaping the new Orange County Comprehensive Plan. The workshop will be held on October 9, beginning at 7 p.m. at Harriman BOCES Center, 163 Harriman Heights Rd, Harriman. Facilitators will include Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D., Orange Environment President and Ramapo College Environmental Studies professor, and David Church, Orange County’s Planning Commissioner.

These Forums are a unique setting for the public to voice concerns or suggestions in an effort to identify concrete improvements to the proposed plan and its effect on water, traffic, schools, sewage and more. Beyond a briefing on the planning effort, the workshop will explore the concept of sustainability as it pertains to our particular region. Debate is encouraged and all citizens are urged to add their voice in efforts to shape the future of the county and our quality of life. Orange Environment President Mike Edelstein offered some background to the programs:

“When an update to the Orange County Comprehensive Plan was produced at the end of the Rampe administration in 2001, Orange Environment criticized the plan and the planning process roundly. OE’s concerns included the failure to compile a thorough baseline study of such resources as our waters, land and air, as well as how they have been impacted by recent growth, the lack of an integrated vision for a sustainable Orange County, as well as the lack of opportunities for citizens to be heard in shaping the future of the county.”

“However, a new window for input has opened up. The Rampe plan has not been approved. And Planning Commissioner David Church is actively searching for ways to improve the plan to meet the new County Executive Edward Diana’s commitment to address the problems of growth. Orange Environment, Inc. seeks to support this effort.”

The workshops will attempt to explore the possible indicators of health and livability, including social and economic stability, environmental sustainability, and the long-term impact of the recent housing and development boom.

The issues to be considered include:

  • Does Orange County have a growth crisis?
  • Has the growth in Orange County affected your quality of life (water, traffic, schools, sewage etc.)?
  • Are our most critical environmental and cultural resources being protected?
  • Can development cure a budget crisis?
  • How might the new County Comprehensive Plan address such pressing issues?
  • What factors influence the health of our county and its sustainability now and in the future?
  • Is development overstressing our waste and garbage removal capabilities?
  • How aggressively must we control growth?
  • What is the county’s role in controlling growth at the local level?
  • How livable is Orange County?
  • What needs to happen for Orange County to Remain/Become a Great Place to Live?

The answers to these questions will help guide the interpretation of the current data and the need to gather information on a continuous basis in the future in order to fairly evaluate if the county is following the vision and the plan. These events are open to the general public. Resources on Sustainable Planning and Environmental issues will be available at the meeting. All concerned citizens, public officials and civic leaders are urged to attend.

Orange Environment, Inc. is citizen-supported environmental advocacy group. For the past twenty years, OE has been at the forefront in protecting county residents from threats to our local environment and the long-term sustainability of our communities. For additional information regarding the growth workshops or Orange Environment please call 294-5852 or email us at oeoffice@warwick.net.