Poughkeepsie and LLoyd, New York Zoning

GREENPLAN assisted Scenic Hudson, the City of Poughkeepsie and Town of Lloyd with preparation and adoption of new form-based zoning for the neighborhoods at the entrances of the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. As Walkway was about to open in 2009, Scenic Hudson convened a group of diverse stakeholders to  collaborate on ways to ensure that hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park generate economic benefits to the Walkway host communities—the City of Poughkeepsie and hamlet of Highland in the Town of Lloyd. 

Gateways to the park  places where people approach and access Walkway — were characterized as neglected areas, burdened with abandoned, poorly-maintained and in many cases boarded up buildings, as well as vacant and otherwise underutilized industrial parcels. These blighted conditions were seen as a huge challenge, potentially detrimentental to impressions of the communities and an impediment to positive word of mouth referrals.

However, with an anticipated flood of new visitors on the horizon, these properties also presented a unique opportunity to generate new investment and development for uses that serve both tourists and local residents.  It was anticipated that reinvestment would provide jobs, create a better pedestrian environment, and perhaps just as important, present to the public an attractive gateway and positive first impression for visitors who, it is hoped, will return home and relate their experiences to their friends.

GREENPLAN, working with a Committee of stakeholders, prepared new form-based “gateway” zoning for the commercial strip along Route 9W and adjoining areas in Highland and along the Parker Avenue corridor and adjoining areas in the City of Poughkeepsie.  The Lloyd Town Board adopted the zoning unanimously on June 19, 2013.  Similar zoning was adopted by the City of Poughkeepsie Common Council on October 7, 2013.


Rhinebeck, New York Planning and Zoning

Rhinebeck has been described as "that classic 'small town America' you've seen in the movies... Friendly shops on picture perfect streets… Prized restaurants... Famous fairgrounds... Dazzling mansions and estates...All set against a gorgeous backdrop of farmland, river, and mountains." In the early 2000's, the Town engaged GREENPLAN to help it keep that charm by updating a 15 year old Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Law and even older Subdivision and other natural resource protection regulations. 


fracking for natural gas in new york state

GREENPLAN assisted several communities in studying the potential environmental, economic and community impacts of permitting high volume hydraulic fracturing using horizontal drilling technologies (fracking) for natural gas extraction. One of these, the Town of Middlefield, used GREENPLAN's study as a basis for its determination to prohibit fracking, using its land use control authority. The Town was challenged in court for the prohibition, with the case eventually reaching the New York State Court of Appeals. The State's highest court, in a landmark ruling, decided in the Town's favor. In its decision, the Court quoted from the GREENPLAN study findings. The Middlefield decision became a basis for New York State's decision to ban the practice entirely, through its environmental permitting processes.

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Town of Taghkanic Zoning

GREENPLAN is assisting the Town of Taghkanic Zoning Commission and Town Board with preparation of Zoning amendments to implement the recommendations of the Town’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan.   Taghkanic is a predominantly rural and agricultural community in central Columbia County, NY. The proposed rules address numerous issues including retention of agriculture and forestry as economically viable open space land uses, creation of a walkable mixed-use town center in the hamlet of West Taghkanic, affordable housing, natural resource protection, and conservation design for new development.


Winnakee land trust

GREENPLAN helped the Winnakee Land Trust develop a training program for civil engineers, developers, land surveyors, architects, planning board, town board and CAC members and interested citizens in the conservation design process.  GREENPLAN used its experience with planning hundreds of lots in conservation subdivisions throughout the Hudson Valley to illustrate design concepts.

Conservation design is a viable alternative to conventional subdivisions and site plans, which will ultimately produce nothing more than buildings and streets.  Communities throughout the Hudson Valley are preserving their special “greenspaces” and natural resources, while allowing for development that has been prescribed by Zoning.  This can be carried out through a 4-step design process that makes livability and natural resource protection a priority.   Every time a parcel undergoes subdivision or is subject to site plan rules, an opportunity for providing a network of open space exists.  Conservation design creates a more attractive and pleasing environment than so-called “cookie-cutter” subdivisions and other sprawling developments.  Studies have consistently shown that homes in a conservation subdivision sell more easily and appreciate faster than conventional “house lot-and-street” subdivisions.  The conservation design review and approval process can be streamlined because these types of developments meet many communities' planning goals, such as preserving open space, rural character, scenic views, wildlife habitat, and protecting water quality. 

Conservation design rearranges the development, as it is being planned, so that more than half of the buildable land is set aside as open space.  Without losing density, the same development can be built in a less land-consumptive manner, allowing the balance of the property to be permanently protected and added to an interconnected network of community green spaces.  This “density-neutral” approach provides a fair and equitable way to balance conservation and development.  A brochure, describing the 4-step design process together with land trust requirements for accepting conservation easements in a conservation subdivision, can be found below.

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Cold Spring local waterfront Revitalization, comprehensive plan, and Zoning

GREENPLAN has been assisting the Village of Cold Spring Village Board and a Special Board with several initiatives related to a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). This work includes preparation of a Local Waterfront Revitalization Strategy, a Village Comprehensive Plan, a Local Waterfront Revitalization Porgram and Zoning and other Village Code Amendments to implement the Plan and Waterfront Program. The effort is on-going and involves assisting the Boards with development of public participation efforts, research, writing, recommendations, and document preparation. Status of the effort and work completed to date can be found at the link below.

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Fishkill Comprehensive Plan

In a collaborative effort with Frederick P. Clark Associates, Morris Associates and Rhode Soyka and Andrews, GREENPLAN assisted the Fishkill Comprehensive Plan Committee and Town Board with preparation of the Town of Fishkill Comprehensive Plan.  We conducted a public opinion survey and led a community facilitation process to provide a “bottom up” public outreach process leading to development of the Town’s Plan.  We guided the Committee and Town Board through the initial stages of the Planning process and Plan preparation.  We also helped the Town develop new sign regulations, several Zoning amendments and provided planning expertise to the Town Planning Board on the review of numerous large scale development proposals.  Click on a link to the Fishkill Plan below.

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Tivoli Pattern Book

Tivoli is a quaint Village on the shores of the Hudson River, in the heart of the Hudson River National Historic Landmark District.  GREENPLAN began work as Tivoli’s Planner in 2002.  We provided the Village with a host of services including project reviews, Comprehensive Plan development, Zoning amendments, SEQR compliance, municipal training, and preparation of design guidelines like the Tivoli Pattern Book below.

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Village of Warwick Zoning Law

GREENPLAN worked closely with the Village Board of Trustees to prepare a comprehensive revision of the Village’s Zoning Law, following the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan.  Among the more notable features of the new Zoning Law are a simplification of the residential zoning districts, a new Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) District, an affordable housing program, new historic district rules, streamlining home occupation regulations, establishing architectural standards for non-residential development, new stormwater, lighting, parking and sign standards, new streamlined standards for site plan and special use permit reviews, and new provisions for conservation subdivisions. The Vilage and Town of Warwick worked together and an outcome was an annexation district, which works in conjunction with the Town of Warwick’s agricultural protection overlay district through an Intermunicipal Agreement.  The Village of Warwick is home to Warwick Grove, the first Traditional Neighborhood Development to be constructed in the Hudson Valley.

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Hudson Highlands Land Trust

GREENPLAN prepared a Build-out Analysis of the Town of Philipstown, excluding its two villages, for the Hudson Highlands Land Trust. Build-out Analysis is a planning exercise that has been in use for decades. It is designed to examine the implications of zoning regulations by assessing the development potential embedded into a municipality’s laws at one point in time and space. It is not a prediction, per se, of what will occur at any particular time. It can be performed on existing or proposed zoning regulations. For policy-makers, it can show the consequences of keeping the regulations as they are or of enacting changes to the community’s land use controls.  

A Build-out Analysis estimates the potential impacts of cumulative growth, once all developable land has been consumed and converted to uses permitted under current and/or proposed regulations.  Build-out helps residents and decision-makers to understand, ahead of time, the impacts that development may have on the community.  Build-out Analysis helps in the selection of policy alternatives to accommodate or mitigate new development that will occur.  It can also foster identification of appropriate land uses and density in the community.  The Build-out Analysis Report that GREENPLAN prepared can be found below. 


Copake Scenic District

As Town Planners for the Copake Strategic Planning Committee and Town Board, we prepared a Scenic Resource Protection Plan (as an amendment to the Town Comprehensive Plan), Design Guidelines and a Scenic Corridor Overlay Zoning District (SCOZ) amendment to Copake, New York’s Zoning Law. The area involved the New York State Route 22 Corridor west of the Taconic Mountain Range, Taconic State Park, and the Berkshire Taconic Landscape, designated by The Nature Conservancy as one of its “Last Great Places” in the world.  


Imagine Rochester

GREENPLAN has facilitated community visioning meetings in Fishkill, Red Hook, Tivoli, and Rhinebeck, but perhaps the most surprising one was “Imagine Rochester,” a full day session at Town Hall in the hamlet of Accord, New York.  Rochester is a bucolic town with outstanding scenic beauty, pristine streams and a history of farming, forestry and summer resorts.  Long term residents and “newcomers” from New York City often clash over priorities.  Imagine Rochester was designed to bring diverse interests together so that a comprehensive planning process could be jumpstarted.  

The visioning session started with residents questioning whether common ground could ever be found, given the broad spectrum of views on protecting private property interests while fostering the public interest in protecting environmental quality.  At the end of the day, one of the participants remarked that “I wouldn’t have given two cents to ‘so-and-so’ at the start of this, but we discovered that we really share many common interests.”  

Due to the success of Imagine Rochester, the Town Board created a Planning and Zoning Committee, which prepared the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.  Zoning amendments were then prepared and adopted to implement the Plan. 


Town of Red Hook

As Town Planners for Red Hook since 2004, we have been assisting the Town Board, an Intermunicipal Task Force (together with the Villages of Red Hook and Tivoli) and other committees with preparation of a series of amendments to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Law and Subdivision Regulations, including preparation of all SEQR Environmental Impact documents.  We helped a Town Working Group prepare a Community Preservation Plan (to implement a transfer tax on real estate transactions), and we provide day-to-day Planning Board and other development review activities. We have assisted the Town in many other ways such as updating Red Hook's 1995 Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, creating a Complete Streets Program, working in collaboration with Cornell University, the Hudson River Estuary Program, and AKRF, Inc. on preparation of a biodiversity plan entitled "Planning for Resilient, Connected Natural Areas and Habitats: A Conservation Framework." The resulting document has become a model for other communities. 

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Dutchess Water & Wastewater Authority

GREENPLAN conducted the environmental planning for the largest water supply project ($30 million) carried out by the Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority since its establishment in 1992.  The project involved a 13-mile water transmission pipeline from Poughkeepsie to East Fishkill, New York, along public roadways and the County-owned Maybrook rail corridor.  The project included development of the Central Dutchess Rail Trail, a multi-purpose trail that links trails from New York City to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and beyond. The water main provides a link from the Poughkeepsie Water Treatment Plant on the Hudson River to the central and southern areas of Dutchess County, providing options for safe and secure water supplies for existing and future development in the region.  

We proposed in the DEIS that communities, along the corridor route, use the availability of central water as an opportunity to protect community character by targeting compact growth areas served by the availability of central water.  The pipeline provides an opportunity to achieve smart growth in existing settled areas, thereby avoiding sprawl.  Communities along the pipeline route are expected to grow in population by more than 30 percent by 2040.  The Authority committed to ensuring that new development proposals requesting connection to the pipeline demonstrate consistency with the Dutchess County Plan: Directions, with Greenway Connections, and with the County’s Water and Wastewater Plan.


Dia: Beacon Environmental Planning

GREENPLAN conducted environmental planning services for the proposed Dia:Beacon center for the arts in Beacon, NY.  Dia:Beacon houses contemporary art from the 1970’s to the present. It occupies a former Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) box printing facility built in 1929, designed by Nabisco’s staff architect Louis N. Wirshing, Jr. The former factory is built of brick, steel, concrete, and glass, and is considered a model of early twentieth century industrial architecture. Design elements include broad spans between supporting columns, and more than 34,000-square-feet of skylights, which create an exceptional environment for viewing works of contemporary art in natural light. These features were an important part of Dia’s decision to site the museum there, as was its location on the banks of the Hudson River only a five-minute walk from the Metro-North Hudson Line train station in Beacon, sixty miles (eighty minutes travel time) north of New York City.

GREENPLAN worked with Dia staff and artists to conduct an impact assessment of the proposed museum including land use, coastal zone and zoning analysis, impacts on wetlands, the Hudson River, a cultural resource analysis including the impact on this National Register of Historic Places eligible structure, a visual assessment, a traffic study, hazardous wastes due to the former industrial operations, and its fiscal costs and benefits, including visitor spending patterns. Dia:Beacon today has become an extraordinary Hudson River Valley destination, attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually and helping to bring about the rebirth of Beacon as a thriving riverside community.  We encourage anyone who has an interest in art to visit Dia:Beacon. 

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Sterling Forest Development

GREENPLAN was planning consultant to the Region 3 Office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the SEQR Lead Agency for review of Sterling Forest Corporation’s proposed development in the Towns of Warwick, Tuxedo, and Monroe in Orange County. GREENPLAN provided advise to the State on a number of environmental areas of concern, in relation to the Draft and Final Generic/Site Specific Environmental Impact Statements (DGEIS and FGEIS) for the project including community character, land use and zoning, traffic, visual and scenic resources, community facilities, fiscal and economic effects, jobs/housing balance, growth inducements, and performance based criteria for future approvals by the Towns.  The massive project had included 13,170 dwelling units and 8 million square feet of commercial development in 5 proposed new hamlets, 3 golf courses, a ski center, 6 community parks, and infrastructure development to support the project. The project did not advance beyond the FGEIS stage and virtually all of Sterling Forest Corporation’s land holdings have now become New York State parklands.

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Adult Use Studies in Hyde Park, Kingston, Lloyd & Washingtonville

GREENPLAN prepared planning and zoning studies of adult businesses for the Kingston Common Council, Hyde Park Town Board, Lloyd Town Board and the Washingtonville Village Board of Trustees. The purpose of the studies was to determine the primary and secondary impacts that may be associated with adult businesses, if such uses were to be established within the municipalities. Adult businesses are essentially any enterprises that provide for the sale of sex in one form or another. Sexually oriented businesses include movie theaters, bookstores, video rental stores, hotels and motels, houses of prostitution (such as escort agencies or massage parlors), peep shows, topless/bottomless bars, and the like. The materials or opportunities offered by these businesses were not a concern of the studies. However, the secondary effects that these businesses could have on neighborhood character was the chief concern.  The studies resulted in enactment of Zoning Amendments consistent with United States Supreme Court rulings on how such businesses can be regulated, without infringing on the First Amendment. 

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Dutchess Stadium Environmental Planning

GREENPLAN helped the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency and Dutchess County Planning Department conduct the environmental planning for a 4,494 seat county baseball stadium with parking for ± 1,330 vehicles. The ± 64.7 acre property has 1,800 feet of frontage on State Route 9D and approximately 3,000 feet of frontage on Interstate 84. The project included development of an Intermodal Travel Center with parking for 450 cars, as well as for buses and trucks.  The $6,000,000 project involved the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce, Dutchess County Entertainment Corp. and a state sponsored Sports Facility Assistance Program Grant administered by the New York State Urban Development Corporation.  GREENPLAN analyzed and studied wetlands, traffic and pubic transit, visual and cultural resources, fiscal impacts, water resources including wetlands, geology, ecology, air resources, and noise.  The Stadium is the home of the Hudson Valley Renegades, and has hosted music events that included performers such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

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Town of Warwick

Ted Fink has been the Town Planner in Warwick since 1992, responsible for providing all planning, zoning and environmental services to the largest town (in land area) in the Mid-Hudson Valley.  Responsibilities include providing planning and environmental reviews of all subdivision, site plan, and special use permit applications to the Town Planning Board as well as municipal planning functions carried out by the Town Board.  This has included the review of proposed residential development projects ranging from 2 lot subdivisions up to the more than 13,000 dwelling unit Sterling Forest development, mining projects and other commercial/industrial developments such as shopping malls, an 18 hole golf course, numerous cellular communications facilities and an International gas pipeline.  

Ted prepared a comprehensive overhaul of the Town’s 1989 zoning regulations (adopted 2002) including use of creative planning techniques such as Design Guidelines, Transfer of Development Rights, Agricultural, Aquifer, and Ridgeline Protection through overlay districts, Traditional Neighborhood development, Incentive Zoning, and Telecommunications Towers that provides incentives for use of existing structures and co-location or requiring that new towers to be camouflaged.  He prepared the Town’s Comprehensive Plan (adopted 1999 and updated in 2008 and 2016), a Community Preservation Project Plan to implement a State approved real estate transfer tax, and assisted with the preparation of a Town Open Space Plan including recreation uses.  The Plans emphasize protection of agriculture in the Town, among other factors.  He facilitated the Town’s involvement and membership as a Hudson River Valley Greenway community.  Warwick’s planning efforts have gotten nationwide attention and the Town was recipient of two Smart Growth Awards for their planning and zoning approach.  This approach is viewed as a model for other towns in New York State. Photo by John Stage. Travel time from Warwick to Manhattan is about an hour.