County Planning Board disses Geneseo Master Plan

The Livingston County Planning Board voted 14-2 to disapprove the proposed Village of Geneseo Master Plan at its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 10. Opposition to the plan was led by Dennis Witte of Conesus who serves as a member at large, and Livonia representative Don Richards. (See Bill Lofquist’s report on the meeting and Corrin’s take in this week’s Clarion Call column.)

Voting against the motion to disapprove the plan were Karen Roffe of the Village of Leicester and Kathy Gehrig of the Town of Mt. Morris. Roffe said Friday that she voted against the motion because she believed that it should be left to local municipalities to determine their own planning.

At the meeting Planning Board staff member Heather Ferraro cautioned the board that it should only vote against the proposed plan if it involved an issue of county-wide importance. Apparently the majority of the board decided that having Geneseo provide increased shopping opportunities and sales tax revenue for county residents was sufficient reason to intervene in the local planning process.

In a statement to the media Friday, Bill Lofquist responded that, “The view that Geneseo has an obligation to be the tax generator for the County not only denies Geneseo a right to self-determination, it also encourages the further weakening of the economies of surrounding communities.”

The plan now goes back to the village board which can pass it over the county’s objections if they can muster a so called super-majority. (A majority plus one or 4 out of 5 votes)

One response to “County Planning Board disses Geneseo Master Plan

  1. This report is a testament to an inept government committee operating at its worst.

    The State of New York vests local governments with the authority to develop comprehensive plans, inclusive of land-use regulations. Taken directly from NYS Statute 272a:

    “Among the most important powers and duties granted by the legislature to a town government is the authority and responsibility to undertake town comprehensive planning and to regulate land use for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizens.”

    This action by representatives of other Livingston County municipalities is unconscionable. Cooperation among local governments is a lofty goal and is not often met.

    But, interference of this type reeks of a conspiracy by other townships attempting to concentrate undesirable development in Geneseo so as to protect their own hometowns from such destruction and, with the same action, attempt to fatten county coffers, possibly for their own indirect small gain.

    What information did the county planning board rely on when it determined that forcing Geneseo to allow unwanted large scale development is needed to boost county spending allotments? Why don’t those towns that want to force acceptance of this type of development draft plans of their own to encourage such development? Is it because they don’t want the consequences of this form of development in their OWN back yards? Are they justifiably worried that the cost of supporting such development in a small town may outpace the taxes that can be collected?

    The county planning board review process should be clearly outlined. What aspects of a plan should be subject to a recommendation by delegates from other towns and what aspects should be left to the sole discretion of a town determining its own plan, as authorized by NYS?

    I submit that items involving public health and safety should be subject to recommendation whearas land use and development determinations should be left where the State put them, with the town. In this case, with the village of Geneseo.

    Will anyone even attempt to provide a justifiable rationale for this outrageous usurpation of a municipality’s state granted right?

    Think about it. Do something about it. Vote them out.

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