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Proposed
Comprehensive Plan
for the
Town of Shandaken

Comprehensive Plan Committee
Lynn Davidson, Dennis Frano, Erich Griesser (Chairman), Mary Herrmann, Harry Jameson, Keith Johnson, Glenn Miller, Joan Munster, Chuck Perez, Jane Todd, Charles Zimmerman

Prepared for the
Shandaken Comprehensive Plan Committee
by

Shuster Associates, Inc.
Planning & Zoning Consultants
July 2001

[Note: Sections that have been altered or added since the earlier version are in blue.]


TABLE OF CONTENTS


Part I: Background for Planning
Part II: Master Plan for Shandaken
  1. Nature of the Plan
  2. Policies, Guidelines and Recommended Actions
    • The Environment
    • The Economy
    • Development Patterns
    • Historic and Cultural Resources
    • Housing
    • Infrastructure and Community Facilities

Part III: Future Planning Tasks

Part IV: Generic EIS (not included at this time)

Maps
(following page 11)
Land Use
NYS and NYC Land
Development Limitations

Exhibits
Results of Town-wide Survey
Summary of Community Workshop Results


PART I: BACKGROUND FOR PLANNING


A. THE PLANNING PROCESS

Most rural communities like the Town of Shandaken were originally established without comprehensive plan, review boards, or regulatory controls. The historic hamlets, natural features which shaped growth and rural roads remain from the era of initial development and combine to create a picturesque environment which has formed the basis for a long standing tourist based economy.

By carefully examining current conditions and issues in the context of citizen involvement, a community can prepare a comprehensive plan to guide its future. The plan should establish community goals, and include recommendations intended to preserve the environment, while supporting growth that is compatible with community standards.

The Town of Shandaken has never prepared a comprehensive plan. However, the Town has enacted land use regulations to guide development. Subdivision regulations were approved in 1971. The Town's first Zoning Law was enacted in 1976 and substantially revised and amended in 1987. This law delineates eight zoning districts and provides standards for development in each district.

In 1999, the Town Board applied for and received a grant from the New York State Department of State to prepare its first Master Plan. The Board appointed a Master Plan Committee comprised of members of various Town bodies as well as citizens at large to prepare a plan for recommendation to the Town Board. Under New York State law, such a plan can only be adopted by the Town Board.

In the course of preparing this plan, a number of resources have been utilized:

  1. Previous Reports: Among those reports which have been referenced during this process are "Resource Protection and Economic Development Strategy for the Route 28 Corridor," prepared by the Route 28 Corridor Committee, 1994, "Tourism Development Plan for the Central Catskills," prepared by the Central Catskills Planning Alliance, 1998, and the Catskill Forest Preserve Public Access Plan, 1999.

  2. Questionnaire: In June of 2000, the Shandaken Master Plan Committee conducted a survey of the Town's residents. Over 3,000 surveys were sent out to property owners and registered voters. 759 households responded, a return of approximately 25 %. Independently, the Town Planning Consultant and a qualified volunteer tabulated the surveys and the results were represented to the committee. The results of the survey are included in the attached appendix.

  3. Community Workshops: In early November 2000 two community workshops were held in Town Hall and facilitated by the Assistant Director of the Catskill Center. The workshops were conducted to encourage an informal, interactive process to allow residents to share opinions and develop goals for the Town's future. Over 100 people participated and, at the conclusion of each workshop, voted on the most important goals for the Town over the next 10 years. A summary of the results is included in the Appendix.

B. NATURAL SETTING, HISTORY AND MAJOR EVENTS
  1. Natural Setting
    The Central Catskill region, which includes the Town of Shandaken, spans a natural system of valleys which traverse the mountains following the upper reaches of the Esopus Creek and the East Branch of the Delaware River. Generally the mountains consist of steep wooded slopes which in some locations show a terrace pattern, reflective of weathering difference in the underlying conglomerate, sandstone and shale beds that underlie the Catskills. Steep mountain runs convey water from the shallow hillside soils into larger creeks such as the Esopus that can change in character from a quite flowing stream to a raging torrent with but an afternoon thunderstorm.

  2. Early History
    The valleys of the Central Catskills made for natural travel routes by both Indians and colonial Europeans, This access, both to the Catskills area and beyond, has had a profound effect upon the region's history. During pre-European times, much of the Central Catskills were inhabited by the Minsi subgroup of the Lenni-Lenape people, who were also referred to as the "Delaware" people by the British. One major Minsi settlement - a "principal fire" known as Pakatakan - existed near present-day Margaretville just west of Shandaken. By the time Dutch settlers from Hurley explored new lands near the Pakatakan settlement in 1762, out-migration and the introduction of European diseases had decimated the Minsi population.

    During the colonial era, the Central Catskills were part of the Hardenbergh Patent, ownership of which was mostly in the hands of the Livingston family by the Revolutionary War, The Town of Shandaken was part of Woodstock until 1804. Yankees fleeing the stony soils of Connecticut joined immigrants from other states and foreign shores in exploring the region west of the Hudson in the hopes of locating arable farmland. Settlers in the valleys of the Central Catskills soon learned to use the natural resources of the mountains to supplement their attempts at farming, and small sawmills and tanneries sprouted across the landscape. The military demand for leather goods during the War of 1812 spurred the development of large-scale industrial tanneries, which not only decimated the small handcrafters but also much of the extensive hemlock forests in the Catskills.

    In the 19th century, tanning and other industries of the Central Catskills became profitable due to transportation improvements and innovations. The Hudson River was opened up to competition amongst steamboats, resulting in shorter travel times between New York City and river ports such as Rondout (now part of Kingston) and Catskill. Turnpikes were chartered and constructed to provide access to resource-rich hinterlands. Horse-drawn wagons full of lumber, furniture, hides ox bluestone, another developing industry, shared the turnpike with stage coaches that brought mail and visitors to the region, including sportsmen to hunt and fish from the natural bounty of wildlife that was present. Many settlers along the turnpike route had rooms for rent in their homes, or built boarding houses, in order to provide lodging for the team drivers, as a trip in a fully-loaded wagon between Shandaken hamlet and Kingston took three days.

    Construction of the Rondout & Oswego railroad (later the Ulster & Delaware) provided a new, more efficient means of transportation, for both freight and passenger traffic. The R&O reached Shandaken hamlet in 1870. Following its reorganization as the Ulster & Delaware in 1875, the railroad began to promote the Central Catskills as a tourist destination. A great wave of resort hotel construction followed until the turn of the century. Pine Hill was one of the focal points, with 20 such facilities, including the Grand Hotel built on the Delaware County line.

    The natural beauty and resources of the Central Catskills, including and surrounding Shandaken, influenced two major movements with effects far beyond the Catskills. An unknown painter named Thomas Cole first visited the Catskills in 1825. He soon was creating landscape paintings which were tremendously popular and which produced numerous followers who became known as the Hudson River School. The paintings also helped to promote interest in the Catskill Mountains and the development of resorts and retreats from which their beauty could be appreciated. In the second half of the 19' century, John Burroughs, a native of nearby Roxbury in Delaware County, raised the public consciousness about the value and beauty of the natural environment. His writings were based on his experiences in the Catskills and formed the genesis of the environmental movement which continues to this day.

    Following the turn of the century and more so after World War I, the demographics, which had supported the hotel industry, had changed. The automobile and the modern highway system curtailed demand on passenger railroads. The Ulster & Delaware's passenger traffic peaked at 676,000 in 1913 and declined afterwards. Ski trains were run to Simpson's Slope, which opened in 1935 in Phoenicia, for a time but passenger service was discontinued in 1955. Air-conditioning and convenient air travel further reduced the numbers of people who had been coming to the Catskills for vacations and to beat the oppressive summer heat of the city. However, winter visitors somewhat off-set those declining numbers. The ski industry in the Catskills developed in response to growing demand for year-round outdoor recreational opportunities for the public. Highmount Ski area was started in 1946, and in 1949 New York State built Belleayre Ski Center. Hunting and fishing, which had suffered due to environmental degradation by the tanneries and quarries, were on the rebound.

  3. Major Events
    Several major events have shaped the Central Catskills and the Town of Shandaken over the past century.

    1. The Catskill Forest Preserve
      In 1885, in response to excessive clearing of the mountain tops, the Catskill State Forest Preserve was established by the New York State Legislature to preserve as "forever wild" state lands within the preserve. In 1904, the boundary of the Catskill Park was delineated (the "blue line"). The State has continued to acquire land for the past century and now owns and has preserved nearly 300,000 acres of the land in the Town of Shandaken. Over half of the State-owned forest preserve lands are located in Ulster County. More than 50,000 acres are in Shandaken alone representing over 70% of the Town's land area.

    2. The New York City Watershed
      Pressure to satisfy the needs of New York City for a safe and sufficient water supply increased after droughts in 1895 and 1896. Various alternatives to provide new water supply sources were investigated over the next 10 years culminating in 1905 when the New York State Legislature approved creation of the New York City Board of Water Supply with powers to establish reservoirs and regulate the watershed in the Catskill Mountains. That system now includes six reservoirs and a regulated watershed of over 1,600 square miles,

      In response to new federal standards for public water supplies, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued new draft watershed regulations in September 1990. The 35 communities in the Catskill watershed organized the Coalition of Watershed Towns to respond to the regulations which they believed would have severe impacts on the economy of the region. After long negotiations, in 1997 agreement was reached on a Watershed Protection Plan to maintain and enhance the quality of the City's drinking water supply, while protecting the economic vitality and social character of watershed communities.

    3. Belleayre Ski Center
      Creation of the Catskill Park was followed by acquisition of land, much of it on sensitive and remote mountaintops, to preserve it as "forever wild." Trails, campsites and day-use areas were also developed in the Park to meet this demand. In 1949, New York State began construction of the Belleayre Ski Center near Pine Hill.

      The Belleayre Ski Center now comprises one of the major tourist destination in the region which accommodated over 100,000 skiers in the past winter and generates patrons for many of the region's tourism based businesses. Recent investment to improve physical facilities and marketing at Belleayre has demonstrated the State's long-term commitment to maintaining this major resource. In the past 10 years several proposals have been put forth for expansion of the Ski Center to provide direct trail connections to Pine Hill, although many Pine Hill residents have opposed these plans.

    4. Realignment of Route 28
      Route 28 and its predecessors was always the main artery through the valley running through virtually every hamlet. In the 1960's, Route 28 was rebuilt and realigned to by-pass many of the hamlets. This new alignment allowed automobile traffic to reach the heart of the Catskills more quickly but also affected auto dependent business on the hamlet main streets and encouraged new business activity along the new route. More recently, revitalization efforts in the larger hamlets, particularly Phoenicia and Pine Hill, has benefitted to some extent by the absence of through traffic and the resultant congestion.

C. SHANDAKEN TODAY
  1. Demographics
    (Summary of 2000 census data to be inserted when available.)

    Shandaken is made up of a broad cross-section of residents and businesses. While tourist based occupations make up a large part of the economy, both currently and historically, shifts in the demographics of the region have diversified the population. Shandaken's elderly population is plentiful, lending itself to what some call a naturally occurring retirement community. Many homes in Shandaken are second home getaways for those who live in densely populated urban areas.

    Total population in Shandaken in the year 2000 exceeded the population in 1900 for the first time in 100 years. From a peak of 3,053 in 1900, population declined steadily to a low of 1,875 in 1940. It has risen slowly since then to its current 3,235.

    A summary of population and housing statistics from the 2000 census is set forth in the following table which also includes County-wide data. The data emphasizes the older age profile in Shandaken. The median age is almost 18% higher than the County median and the population over 65 over 22% higher. As would be expected the proportion of pre-school and school aged children is over 17% lower. The non-white proportion of the population is less than half the County average. Housing data reflects the seasonal nature of many residences, almost 30%. Owner occupied units are a slightly higher proportion than the County average.

    SUMMARY OF CENSUS DATA
    Town of Shandaken

    Shandaken Ulster County
    Total Population: 1990
    2000
    3,013
    3,235
    165,304
    177,749
    % increase: 7.4% 7.5%
    Age Profile (%): 0-4
    5-19
    20-44
    45-64
    65+
    Median
    4.9%
    17.4%
    27.7%
    32.6%
    17.4%
    45.0
    5.5%
    20.7%
    35.7%
    24.8%
    3.4%
    38.2
    Race: White (%)
    All Others (%)
    94.7%
    5.3%
    8.0%
    11.1%
    Average Family Size: 2.82 3.03
    Housing: Total Units
    Occupied (%)
    Vacant Seasonal (%)
    Owner Occupied (%)
    Renter Occupied (%)
    2,666
    54.9%
    29.5%
    72.1%
    27.9%
    77,656
    86.9%
    6.7%
    68%
    32%



    Innumerable full-time residents have chosen Shandaken for the rural lifestyle it affords. This generalized attraction to rural residential living cuts across economic lines. Residents show an increased interest in home and family businesses, and tele-commuting. Shandaken has become a bedroom community for those who do not mind a daily commute to work. Various occupations in an ever-diversified economy allow for reverse commuting (maintaining a primary residence here while working outside the area for extended periods).

  2. Land Use Patterns
    The present land use pattern has been influenced by the historic pattern of hamlet development, highway-oriented transportation and state land ownership. The Town includes 11 hamlets each with a distinct character. Roadside development often will include older dwellings and tourist oriented businesses, such as motels and restaurants, interspersed with real estate offices and businesses and services that address the needs of local residents. Small pockets of resource-related industries (sawmills and bluestone) still exist, but are clearly today not the economic factor they were a century ago. The Forest Preserve lands stretch across the corridor in a patchwork pattern with abutting private lands, only occasionally coinciding with the ridgelines of mountains or along art entire stream corridor. Most prominent mountain peaks over 3,500 feet in elevation are on State lands.

  3. The Economy
    Belleayre Ski Center, The Catskill Park, the Catskill Forest Preserve and State developed campsites in and near Shandaken, including Devil's Tombstone, Kenneth Wilson and Woodland Valley, contribute to the tourist economy. A myriad of available activities includes hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, skiing, kayaking, tubing and site seeing. Privately owned camping facilities, hotels, bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, art galleries, antique shops and specialty shops complement these amenities. Local businesses that serve local residents, second homeowners and transients include, but are not limited to food markets, hardware stores, service stations, liquor stores, hair salons and eateries, such as delis and ice cream shops. Many artists and craftspeople live and work in the Town and sell their work locally and throughout the country.

  4. Historic Resources
    Shandaken has six sites which are listed on the National Register of Historic places:
    1. Camp Wapanachki (currently Zen Mountain Monastery), Mt. Tremper
    2. Phoenicia Railroad Station, Phoenicia (Empire State Railway Museum)
    3. District Schoolhouse No. 14, Pine Hill
    4. Elm Street Stone Bridge, Pine Hill
    5. Mill Street Stone Bridge, Pine Hill
    6. Morton Memorial Library, Pine Hill
    Other properties in the Town may also be eligible for listing on the National Register.

  5. Infrastructure
    Of the Town's larger hamlets - Phoenicia, Shandaken and Pine Hill - only Pine Hill has a sewage treatment plant, although a feasibility study is underway in Phoenicia. Growth in these hamlets is inhibited by this deficiency. Both Pine Hill and Phoenicia have central water supply systems.

  6. Natural Features and Development Limitations
    An atlas was prepared for the "Tourism Development Plan for the Central Catskills," which illustrates the following features in the Route 28 corridor.
    1. Property Ownership
    2. Existing Land use
    3. Topography
    4. Slopes
    5. Wetlands
    6. Flood Zones
    7. Soil
    8. Zoning Map Designations
    In addition, the Ulster County Planning Department has prepared several maps illustrating natural features and development limitations for the entire Town.

  7. Hamlet Delineation
    In order to provide opportunity for economic development, the Watershed Protection Plan allowed Towns to delineate hamlet areas in which New York City could not acquire land. Shandaken designated all six eligible hamlet areas - Mt. Tremper, Phoenicia, Shandaken / Allaben, Big Indian, Pine Hill and Chichester - and delineated a total area with almost 600 acres. This designation also serves the additional purpose of enabling a landowner within the designated area to be exempt from the regulatory prohibition on the creation of new impervious surfaces within 100 feet of a watercourse. Instead, a landowner may apply for a permit from the NYCDEP to create a new impervious surface.


PART II: MASTER PLAN FOR THE TOWN OF SHANDAKEN


A. NATURE OF THE PLAN

New York State Town Law (272-a) authorizes preparation of a master (or comprehensive) plan by a town and sets forth the procedures to be followed. The law includes a statement of "legislative findings and intent" that emphasizes the importance of the planning process to the health, safety and general welfare of Town residents and the essential need for open citizen participation in the design of the comprehensive plan.

The law goes on to define the comprehensive plan as follows:

"town comprehensive plan" means the materials, written and / or graphic, including but not limited to maps, charts, studies, resolutions, reports and other descriptive material that identify the goals, objectives, principles, guidelines, policies, standards, devices and instruments for the immediate and long-range protection, enhancement, growth and development of the town located outside the limits of any incorporated village or city."

This plan for the Town of Shandaken recognizes that future actions in the Town are dependent on a variety of factors and inter-related decisions, by both government agencies and private property owners, many of which cannot be predicted in advance. Therefore, the plan is designed as a policy document which sets forth goals and objectives for the Town's future which can be used to evaluate future proposals for actions by public and private entities. The plan will serve as a guide for decision makers and a statement of the Town's policies for its future.


B. POLICIES, GUIDELINES AND RECOMMENDED ACTIONS

The future of the Town of Shandaken is tied to its unique natural resources. These
resources - magnificent mountains, clear streams, abundant wildlife, spectacular views - provide the raw material for a healthy, peaceful life style for the Town's residents and a successful economy based on environmentally sensitive development to sustain them. To achieve this vision, the comprehensive plan establishes the following goals, guidelines and specific action programs.

THE ENVIRONMENT

  1. Goals
    1. The fragile features which form the mountain environment - steep slopes, shallow soils, wooded hilltops, mountain streams - must be protected from physical and visual degradation to preserve the Town's main natural and economic resource.
    2. Recognizing the special nature of the Catskill Park & Forest Preserve and the scenic value of Route 28, Route 42 and other regional highways, a coherent and sustainable approach to development should be implemented.
    3. Provide special protections for regional water quality and mountaintops.

  2. Guidelines
    1. Erosion Control: New development on steep slopes can increase erosion unless proper erosion protection measures are taken during construction and incorporated into final design. Development plans in these sensitive areas should include erosion protection plans. Banks of existing streams should be stabilized to prevent further erosion, where required, and eroded banks repaired using techniques that minimize damage to the natural and visual environment.
    2. Recreational Use of Fish and Wildlife Resources: Recreation use of fish and wildlife resources include consumptive uses such as fishing, trapping and hunting, and non-consumptive uses such as wildlife photography, bird watching and nature study. One of the obstacles to increased use of these resources is the lack of adequate signage to identify access to the streams and waterways of the Catskills and easily understood maps at gateway locations. Any increased recreational use must ensure the protection of fish and wildlife resources and also take into consideration other activities dependent on these resources and protection of water quality.
    3. Wetland Preservation: Zoning requirements and site plan review should be used to minimize the adverse effects of development on designated and other freshwater wetlands and their associated drainage basins. Adverse effects include erosion, sedimentation, pollution damage to wildlife habitats, and similar affects.
    4. Scenic Resource Protection: Siting and development guidelines should be used to insure maximum protection of the important scenic resources in the Route 28 corridor recognizing that each development situation is unique and that guidelines will have to be applied accordingly and consider both the scenic resource and the Town's development objectives and priorities.
    5. Control of Quantity and Quality of Run-off: Stormwater runoff can significantly affect adjacent properties and water quality in streams and reservoirs. To avoid adverse impacts the release of stormwater runoff from a developed area should not exceed predevelopment conditions unless drainage analysis recommends otherwise. The impacts of the "first flush" should be controlled in stormwater management plans because most runoff-related water quality contaminants are transported from land, particularly impervious surfaces, during the initial stages of a storm event.
    6. Lighting and Illumination: The vast expanse of unobstructed night sky over the mountains is a significant feature in the rural environment, Necessary lighting should be shielded and limited in intensity to prevent light spillage that diminishes views of stars and planets.
    7. Traffic Impacts: Route 28 is the road with by far the greatest capacity to carry traffic in the corridor, in terms of speed, volume and weight. With the exception of Route 214 and 42, other roads are only able to accommodate limited traffic generated by abutting low density uses. Therefore, uses proposed on sites that do not have direct access to Route 28 should be very carefully considered in terms of the type of vehicles generated and the average daily traffic produced.

  3. Recommended Actions
    1. The Zoning Law should be amended to provide design standards and review procedures for structures such as commercial telecommunication facilities or windmills which may detract from important viewsheds.
    2. The Zoning Law should establish standards for lighting illumination levels and design.
    3. The Zoning Law should be amended to control clear cutting of large sites.
    4. Zoning amendments to establish standards for development on steep slopes must be investigated.
    5. Pursue funding sources for stream bank stabilization and promote cooperation and coordination of efforts between all involved agencies.
    6. Wetland areas should be reviewed and analyzed and, if appropriate, delineated under local law.

THE ECONOMY

  1. Goals
    1. Promote four season tourism, recognizing that both residents and tourists come to this region because of its unique environmental setting.
    2. Promote and develop heritage tourism based on the Town's extensive historic and cultural resources.
    3. Promote business activities which do not use extensive natural resources or create substantial negative impacts on the environment.

  2. Guidelines
    1. The Catskill Mountain Railroad is a unique and invaluable resource which must be encouraged to develop to its fullest potential. The location along the Esopus Creek and Route 28 not only makes for unparalleled scenic views and access, but also provides the link, by which the many activity centers along the corridor can be economically and visually connected.
    2. Encourage continued development of the Belleayre Ski Center as a four-season facility consistent with the carrying capacity of the area's sewer, water and traffic systems.
    3. Access to and use of the vast New York State lands must be planned in a way that benefits both users and the tourist economy.

  3. Recommended Actions
    1. Encourage increased cooperation with governmental and nongovernmental organizations to promote economic revival (e.g., promote the goals and actions of the Catskill Forest Preserve Public Access Plan).
    2. Provide information and access to programs and financial assistance sources to assist economic development efforts.

DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS

  1. Goals
    1. The Town's historic development pattern of concentrated hamlets separated by low density open areas should be perpetuated. Existing hamlets should be revitalized and the distinct character of each emphasized.
    2. Route 28 - the thread which binds the valley together - must be planned and designed as a series of separate but coordinated experiences - mountain views, bustling hamlets, open fields, unique shops and tourist stops, educational a historic sites, all with quality of design and maintenance worthy of the resource.
    3. Large-scale, terrain-altering development outside the hamlets is generally undesirable, but may be considered on a case-by-case basis, subject to necessary measures to protect the sensitive environment.

  2. Guidelines

    Hamlets

    1. Hamlet growth should be limited to prevent creeping expansion along Route 28 or up the steep slopes of the surrounding mountains. More detailed analysis should be undertaken to define specific hamlet boundaries but, in any event, hamlets should not expand beyond the limits established under the hamlet designations approved by the Town Board in 1997 pursuant to the New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement. New development within the designated hamlet areas should be compatible with the scale and density as that of the existing hamlet development, as appropriate to the capacity of existing sewer and water systems.
    2. Mixed uses combining residential and commercial development are quite acceptable and help concentrate activity within the hamlets.
    3. In-fill development in the hamlets should have the same setback and orientation to the street as existing buildings. Odd angled buildings or large set-backs should be avoided.
    4. Trees should line hamlet streets to provide shade and to integrate sometime diverse building forms.

    Route 28
    Between the hamlets, Route 28 is the image of the Central Catskills - long views of mountains, glimpses of mountain streams open fields and wooded hillsides and a varied array of small, diverse structures and uses glimpsed at 55 mile per hour. In general, the design principle for Route 28 should be to blend manmade development into the natural landscape to the maximum extent possible and to prevent an increase in development intensity in terms of physical and visual impact. This can be achieved by the following techniques.

    1. Existing vegetation or new landscaping should be maintained between buildings and parking lots and the roadway. Residences in particular should be set back as far as possible and screened by natural growth, stone walls or fences.
    2. New buildings should be located on the edges of fields rather than the middle, if at all possible, and should be sited so as not to interfere with views of natural features or dominate views by placement at a curve or high spot.
    3. Buildings should be consistent with the rural character of the area in terms of design and materials.
    4. Unless the nature of the specific use requires a site with unique features, tourist destination uses should be located in or adjacent to the hamlets.

  3. Recommendations
    1. Hamlet revitalization should be promoted and coordinated through use of available loan and grant programs to encourage business development and building renovation.
    2. Events such as historic tours, crafts fairs, etc. should be organized in the hamlets at frequent intervals and coordinated between the hamlets.
    3. Hiking, biking, scenic river walks and trails should be developed to link hamlets together.
    4. Design standards for signs should be established in the Zoning Law to create a sense of unity throughout the Town and coordinated with DEC and DOT regulations. No new sign should. be permitted on a property until all non-conforming signs on the same property are removed.
    5. A fund should be established to purchase legal existing non-conforming signs if the owner agrees to install a new, conforming sign.
    6. The benefits and obligations of scenic byway designations should be evaluated and, if found to be a positive factor, pursued with appropriate agencies.
    7. Certain uses, especially adult businesses and casino gambling, are incompatible with the rural character of the Town and should be limited and restricted to the extent allowed by law.
    8. Public parking and restrooms should be provided in convenient locations for visitors.
    9. Existing zoning and land use regulations should be strictly enforced in a fair and uniform manner.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES

  1. Goals
    1. Among the most valuable manmade resources are those structures or areas which are of historic, archaeological, or cultural significance. The protection of these structures must involve a recognition of their importance and the ability to identify and describe them. The resources can be found in the hamlets, in isolated structures and in unique sites or facilities such as the portal in Shandaken. All practicable means to protect these resources should be taken.
    2. The long tradition of arts, crafts and cultural expression in the Central Catskills should be strongly supported and encouraged as a link to the Town's past and an integral part of its future.

  2. Guidelines
    1. All proposed actions within proximity of the boundary of a historic, architectural, cultural, or archaeological resource that would be incompatible with the objective of preserving the quality and integrity of the resource and its surroundings should be carefully considered. Compatibility between the proposed action and the resource means that the general appearance of the resource should be reflected in the architectural style, design material, scale, proportion, composition, mass, line, color, texture, detail, setback, landscaping and related items of the proposed action to the maximum extent possible.
    2. Alteration of or addition to one or more of the architectural, structural, ornamental or functional features of a building, structure, or site that is a recognized historic, cultural, or archaeological resource should be avoided.
    3. Demolition or removal in full or part of a building, structure, or earthworks that is a recognized historic, cultural, or archaeological resource should be prevented.

  3. Recommended Actions
    1. A survey should be taken to identify additional structures and resources in the Town that are eligible for listing on the National Register.
    2. Grants and/or loans for restoration of historic structures should be sought, particularly for structures in the hamlet that can contribute to overall hamlet revitalization or are adaptable for use by artists or crafts people.

HOUSING

  1. Goals
    1. Housing opportunities for the full economic range of the Town's population should be provided in a form that is compatible with the scale and pattern of existing development.
    2. The special housing needs of senior citizens and young families should receive particular attention.

  2. Guidelines
    1. Single family houses are the preferred housing type which is most compatible with the existing development pattern, Where adequate utilities are available, single family homes can be clustered on smaller lots to preserve green space and sensitive natural features.
    2. Low density, multi-family housing is appropriate for senior citizens and others with special needs. The design of such housing should be compatible with the scale and design of single family home development.
    3. Rehabilitation of the Town's existing housing stock is the most effective means to provide housing opportunities that are compatible with existing development patterns and to foster hamlet revitalization.

  3. Recommended Actions
    1. Encourage development and use of loan and grant programs for rehabilitation of existing housing stock.
    2. Encourage development of new housing for senior citizens by organizations such as SHARP.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND COMMUNITY FACILITIES

  1. Goals
    1. Necessary infrastructure (sewage disposal and water supply) must be provided to allow concentration and expansion of the hamlets, particularly in Phoenicia, Shandaken, Pine Hill and Big Indian.
    2. State of the art communications services must be provided to facilitate economic growth dependent on high speed access to outside markets and to enhance emergency service response.
    3. Enhanced, affordable public service should be provided to support the quality of life of residents and the experience of tourists.

  2. Guidelines
    1. Repair or construction of underground utilities (electric, phone and cable) in the hamlets should be coordinated with sidewalk repair and replacement, development of off-street parking areas and underground relocation of overhead lines.
    2. Tourist information services, visitor centers, lodging referral networks and similar services should be coordinated with all involved public, non-profit and business agencies to provide "one-stop shopping" for tourists.
    3. A Catskill Interpretive Center should be developed on the original site purchased by the Catskill Center in Mt. Tremper to welcome visitors and educate them regarding the history and natural resources of the area. The location is still attractive. It is approximately half way between the Thruway and Belleayre at a point where the visitor has left behind much of the commercial/ suburban development and is beginning to sense arrival at a special place. The immediate environs of the site relate closely to the mountains and the Esopus Creek which convey the essence of the Central Catskills. It is an ideal opportunity to provide information and services at the entrance to the Central Catskills.

  3. Recommendations
    1. Work with the respective utility companies to develop a long-range, comprehensive plan to place all existing over-head utilities underground.
    2. All new utilities should be placed underground.
    3. A new Catskill Interpretive Center should be equipped with large scale maps and brochures. Inter-active devices should provide meal and lodging information and direct-connection to these services so that reservations can be made.
    4. Means to improve trash removal and establish a transfer station at a convenient location should be explored.
    5. The Town should investigate the options and feasibility of providing a community center, pool and Town Hall so as to better serve the needs of the community.


PART III: FUTURE PLANNING TASKS


The Comprehensive Plan for Shandaken set forth in Part Il represents the first step in the Town's effort to determine its future. The Plan establishes policies and guidelines for future actions. It also reconunends numerous specific tasks necessary to refine the Plan and/or implement its proposals. These recommendations are divided into the following categories: There is still much work to be done. In order to maintain interest and momentum, the Town Board should establish one or more new committees to pursue specific assignments from the various future planning tasks set forth in this Plan and to periodically review the Plan.

Finally, it must be recognized that a Town Comprehensive Plan is not permanent, irrevocable or inflexible. It is a document which reflects the opinions, attitudes and aspirations of its residents at the time it was prepared. The Plan is a benchmark. The Town should periodically review the Plan to determine if internal or external events have created a need to re-evaluate and, if necessary, modify the Plan after thorough review and analysis.


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