Help Bethlehem chart its future

To the Editor:

On Thursday, Jan. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m., Bethlehem Grange 137 will host the third in series of community forums on the town’s comprehensive plan update, in South Bethlehem, at 24 Bridge St. The Grange Hall is accessible to people with handicaps.

The town’s director of Planning and Economic Development, Rob Leslie, will begin the South Bethlehem forum with a presentation on why the comprehensive plan is being updated, and the overall process.  Residents of other areas of the town of Bethlehem are also welcome to attend this session, especially if they’ve already missed the meeting in their area, or may be unable to attend the meeting intended for their area.

The residents will then join smaller groups to answer some questions, such as:

— What do you like about South Bethlehem and Bethlehem?

— What is your vision for South Bethlehem/Bethlehem in the next 20 years?

— What are your concerns about South Bethlehem/Bethlehem?

— What are the opportunities for South Bethlehem/Bethlehem?

Why is it important for all residents of the town, to attend these meetings? Because the town is continuing to grow, it’s important to identify the desirable qualities of the town, and what is needed to continue to retain these desirable qualities.

At these meetings, the residents will be able to voice their opinions, and get their questions answered. At this meeting, town leaders will also help the residents understand their rights as landowners to sell their properties to developers, and the developer’s rights to build in accordance with zoning codes.

In addition, the comprehensive plan update will address the process, timeline, and the desired results.

The foundation for the update will be derived from the resulting information gathered at these community meetings, including the vision, goals, and recommendations. The success of the plan is dependent upon the input of the residents and the business leaders. After all of the community meetings, the town will then hire a consultant to complete the update.

The current comprehensive plan was adopted in 2005, and extends through 2020, and serves as the overall guide to all planning and land use regulations in the town, even though it is not the law.

The resulting updated plan will “address new issues, and potential changes to the communities vision for the future.”

For additional questions regarding this meeting, contact the Office of the Supervisor at 518-439-4955, ext. 1164.

Carol Carpenter

Master

Bethlehem Grange 137