Town & Village of Waterford Comprehensive Plan
Setting the Scene
With funding assistance from the
Hudson River Greenway, the Town and Village of Waterford completed its second comprehensive
plan in March 2002. This document
summarizes the planning effort and plan contents. The plan is the result of nearly two years of
work by the Town & Village of Waterford Comprehensive Plan/LWRP Committee,
elected officials, officials from town and village boards and local residents.
The Comprehensive Plan/LWRP Committee held regular meetings
during the planning process, conducting research and designing a detailed
community survey to solicit opinions from residents about community
values. The community survey was
conducted in January 2000. Designed to
assess residents’ opinions about the future of the Town and Village, the survey
was mailed to more than 3,000 households in Waterford and distributed at various public
places within the Town and Village.
Nearly 300 households responded to the survey, reflecting a response
rate of almost 10%, and this input was incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan
and used to identify high priority issues for Town and Village residents.
In addition, the Town and Village of Waterford hosted a public visioning session
at the Waterford Civic Center in March 2000 to introduce
residents to the planning process and present initial results of the
survey. Residents also participated in a
brainstorming exercise designed to identify what they like best about their community,
what they would like to change, and what Waterford will be like when the changes have
been made. Comments received from the
nearly 100 residents attending the meeting are also incorporated into the
Comprehensive Plan. At a similar
meeting, residents participated in an action planning workshop, suggesting
goals and reviewing and voting on a slate of recommended actions previously
proposed. The key actions identified
through this process were:
Developing a youth
master plan for Broad
implementing property maintenance standards and increasing code compliance
Restoring Champlain Canal Lock 5
and interpretive signage.
What is a
Under New York State law, municipalities are granted the
authority and responsibility to prepare and adopt comprehensive plans. As defined in the state legislation, a
comprehensive plan is a document that presents goals, objectives, guidelines
and policies for the immediate and long-range protection of a community’s
assets as well as strategies for enhanced growth and community
development. Also known as a master plan
or land use plan, a comprehensive plan provides guidance to Town and Village
leaders and helps to ensure that the community needs will be met in the future.
It is important to understand that the action items
described in the plan are not requirements.
Rather, they are recommendations designed to provide focus and direction
as the Town and Village of Waterford move ahead to reach their preferred
futures. It will be up to the local
community to decide on an ongoing basis which initiatives they will implement
and how they wish to proceed. Although
any future land use regulation must be in accordance with the principles of the
Comprehensive Plan, there is no legally binding requirement that the Town and
Village implement each of the action items proposed in the plan. The Town and Village Boards should carefully
examine proposed land use strategies to minimize the cost to residents and protect
private property rights.
The direction for Waterford’s comprehensive planning effort came
from resident input received in the community survey conducted in January 2000
as well as subsequent public meetings.
The survey showed that while people are generally satisfied with the
Town and Village overall, residents want some level of change. Survey respondents indicated that some growth
would help Waterford, providing a stronger tax base and
opportunities for young people, but that any growth must be gradual and
Key community needs raised in the survey included:
the appearance and character of downtown Waterford
flood control and truck traffic issues
expansion of activities for youth as well as recreational opportunities
such as hiking and biking trails, park enhancements and open space
small business development
linkages between downtown and waterfront areas
In subsequent months, the Comprehensive Plan/LWRP Committee
worked with its consultant, River Street Planning & Development, to
conduct several community meetings, including a comprehensive plan orientation
session, visioning workshop, and goal setting/action plan workshop. At the initial meeting, the Committee and
River Street Planning described the comprehensive planning process. Key findings from the Community Profile (the
existing conditions portion of the Comprehensive Plan) and survey resulted in
specific recommendations from Committee members and residents that have been
incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.
Vision and Goals
Residents and leaders of the Town and Village of Waterford have established the following
vision statement for the Town and Village:
Situated at the gateway
of the New York State Canal System, Waterford is a safe, close-knit, multi-generational community with a rich
industrial heritage. It is a place with
diverse recreational opportunities, from walking along a canalway
trail to swimming in the Town pool. Waterford’s emergency services, churches, fraternal
organizations, and youth groups rely on the tradition of volunteer service that
is typical for a small community with a stable population. Waterford values its
pedestrian-oriented downtown, the ambiance created by its nineteenth-century
architecture, and the waterways which influenced the community’s development.
In the decades ahead, Waterford will remain a
family-oriented community offering a balance between development and open
space, an expanded array of recreational activities, and enhanced public access
to the waterfront. It will continue to
foster the sense of community which has made Waterford a nice place to live,
and will encourage excellence in public services, including education. Waterford will protect and
enhance those physical features which make it attractive to residents and
visitors alike. It will also connect
newer areas of the community with the more established areas of both the town
and village. It will provide for a range
of quality housing options for homeowners, renters, and senior citizens. Waterford’s vital
downtown will be linked to the waterfront, and will become a destination for
residents, boaters, and visitors, offering a mix of products and services.
To fulfill this vision and maintain a strong quality of life
for residents of the Town and Village has established seven goals and a set of
actions to implement the overall vision and goals:
- To provide high quality
facilities and a variety of parks and recreational programs and
opportunities to accommodate the needs of residents and visitors of all
ages and abilities.
protect open space, scenic vistas, and other important natural resources
in Waterford for future generations.
maintain a strong, healthy tax base and promote the long-term economic
vitality of the community.
preserve, promote and enhance Waterford’s historic and cultural assets.
stimulate economic development by capitalizing on Waterford’s waterfront location,
architecture and history.
provide for a mix of housing types and densities to meet the housing needs
of individuals, families and seniors while maintaining the integrity of
established residential neighborhoods.
enhance the overall quality of physical infrastructure and municipal services
in Waterford and to protect public health and safety.
The Town and Village of Waterford Comprehensive Plan is intended to provide municipal
leaders and stakeholders with a collective vision of the kind of place
residents would like Waterford to become. The Action Plan outlines what needs to be
done, how to do it and how to pay for it to ensure that the long-term needs of
the community will be met. While the
various action items will and should change over time, as some efforts are
attempted and abandoned or new issues arise, it should provide a basis for
consensus and common direction to Town and Village residents and leaders as
they make short- and long-term decisions about Waterford.
The following summarizes the actions described in the
Facilities, Parks and Recreation
- Develop a Youth Center and expand the range of youth
better use of Sugar Loaf Pond as a recreational asset.
winter recreational activities in the community.
with NYS Canal Corporation to complete improvements at the former Alcathy’s Marina.
the network of waterfront trails along the Waterford Flight and Mohawk River to provide expanded public
access to these waterways, to link trails to one another, and to provide
better connections between waterfront,
residential and commercial areas in the Town and Village.
a series of nature walk brochures and maps to be used for directed and
self-guided tours of the waterfront and other trails.
Protection of Open Space, Scenic Resources, and Other
a waterfront overlay district with development standards to ensure that
development within or immediately adjacent to scenic view sheds in the
Town and Village will be compatible with, complement and enhance the view
shed and not compromise the irreplaceable environmental and scenic
with the City of Cohoes, City of Troy, and New York State Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation and appropriate others to develop a
strategy and implement appropriate land use controls to protect and
enhance shared and mutually beneficial (from a tourism perspective)
shoreline areas, historic resources, and scenic view sheds.
Tax Base Maintenance and Long-Term Economic Vitality
- Attract and retain small
businesses in the Town and Village of Waterford in designated commercial areas
such as along Saratoga Avenue, the Broad Street commercial district and along Hudson River Road.
a Master Plan for the Broad Street Corridor.
and implement a streetscape improvement program to improve the appearance
and condition of streets and sidewalks in the Village.
and implement a streetscape improvement program to improve the appearance
and condition of streets and sidewalks along Saratoga Avenue in the Town.
and retain industry located in the Hudson River Road Sub-Area in the Town
Preservation, Protection and Enhancement of Historic and
detailed design guidelines to assist the planning and zoning boards and
property owners to make changes that are compatible with the architectural
character and scale of historic district buildings.
the Village’s historic preservation laws by incorporating design
guidelines, the two existing historic preservation ordinances, and
building maintenance provisions into the Village Zoning Ordinance.
and implement a façade improvement program for commercial and residential
facades to improve the physical appearance of the Village and portions of
the effectiveness of existing historic preservation laws and amend the
Village zoning ordinance to incorporate coordinated historic preservation
and strengthen signage and interpretive programs to make residents and
visitors more aware of the wide range of historic resources in the
a reuse and restoration strategy for threatened and/or underutilized
with the Waterford Historical Museum to better establish it as the
southern visitor gateway to the Champlain Canal Trail, increase its
ability to contribute to historic and cultural offerings of the Town and
Village, and raise public awareness of its existence.
a web site and collateral marketing materials to actively promote Waterford as a destination for
recreation and heritage tourism.
Asset-Based Economic Development
pedestrian and other linkages between the waterfront and downtown areas.
the waterfront projects set forth in the Town and Village of Waterford’s Local Waterfront
and implement a flood hazard mitigation plan to address seasonal flooding
of residences and other buildings at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers.
- Increase the rate of owner
occupancy in the Village and decrease the number of absentee landlords.
and enhance the condition of Village housing stock through code
adoption of a historic preservation tax exemption program in the Village.
a housing survey to determine housing rehabilitation needs in the Village
and apply for housing rehabilitation funding resources as
appropriate. Explore other methods
of financing housing rehabilitation for those that do not qualify for
traditional state and federal housing rehabilitation programs.
a program in the Town and Village to encourage home improvements without
penalizing the homeowner through property tax increases.
Zoning, Physical Infrastructure, Municipal Services
the Zoning Ordinances of the Town and Village to correct existing
ambiguities and problems and incorporate zoning tools to implement this
Comprehensive Plan and the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.
alternatives for parking improvements in the Village.
and implement measures to prevent and/or minimize flooding in the Village of Waterford.