NEWCOMB - The town of Newcomb is in the final stages of reviewing a comprehensive plan developed by the Chazen Companies of Glens Falls. The plan will soon be presented to the Town Board for approval and acceptance.
The Chazen Companies are a multi-disciplinary company with technical expertise in engineering, surveying, environmental, planning, and landscape architecture. They were appointed to the job by a committee of the town board in the summer of 2008.
A comprehensive plan is a policy guide that sets forth directions for the future of a community in the form of both long and short term goals. It is a blueprint to help guide them through the future and establish a cohesive vision for progress. The document itself will serve as a guide to land use, economic development, natural resource protection and much more.
In 1977, recognizing the lack of economic development in Newcomb, a similar plan was adopted by the town board and updated in 1990, but was not executed successfully.
"The town board has to look at our goals from a policy perspective and work with the finances. I think the current board will do that well," said committee member Bob Lilly.
The document has been revised by Essex County and the Adirondack Park Agency and the final comprehensive plan will be presented to the town board in general session on Jan. 12.
The Chazen Companies have presented drafts of the plan in several public hearings over the past few months in order to amend the document according to public opinion.
"We made many changes based on the feedback from those hearings," said Lilly. "We hoped that the public's' comments would be visionary, thoughtful and respectful and they were."
Stew Messinger of the Chazen Companies led the public hearings and presented the documents to citizens.
"There is opportunity for development here," he said. "I could easily see 500-600 new homes being built here if this plan is conducted successfully."
Messinger cited the positives of living in Newcomb. He listed the beauty, the low taxes, the strong school system and the opportunity for industry in National Lead and forestry among other things.
Newcomb was crippled by the closing of the National Lead mine about 30 years ago. Hundreds of people moved away from the town and the hemorrhage continued in the years to follow, shrinking the school system to what it is today.
Messinger also acknowledged the aging population, the harsh weather and the lack of convenient services available as things to improve upon.
"But it's all workable," he said.
The Chazen Companies defined four major benchmarks for the town of Newcomb. One is to redevelop their job market, two is to improve the appearance of the town, three is to create infrastructure and lastly to become a tourism destination through marketing and branding.
Specifically, Messinger presented creative ideas to attract both businesses and people to the area. He also accepted public comments and ideas, which included establishing an emphasis on the arts and creating a horseback riding trail system.
"This is a big picture plan designed to develop sustainability through analysis," said Messinger. "The people in the town of Newcomb are enthused and have a lot of energy to invest in this project."
Newcomb's comprehensive plan can be found on their website at www.newcombny.com.