Plan Forward will set goals for the County based on feedback from people who live, work and play here.
Counties are well positioned to intimately understand the needs and characters of the dierent municipalities within them, as well as, understand the relationships between those municipalities and the larger systems that impact and shape them. As such, the tools the county uses to shape the landscape and the lives of the people within it are dierent from those of towns or villages.
For example, while counties do not have zoning or subdivision authority, they do oversee an extensive roadway network and parks network, provide important health services, manage community development grant funds, and have robust planning sta and resources that can be shared with municipalities. Plan Forward will investigate traditional and innovative county-level tools and strategies to address inter-municipal issues with respect to themes listed below.
- Agriculture and Food Systems
- Tourism and Recreation
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Government Efficiency
- Climate Change
- Energy Supply & Conservation
- Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability
- Parks, Trails, and Open Space
- Water quality
- Community Livability
- Public Health
- Farmland and Open Space Protection
- Historic Preservation
Ultimately the plan will outline a shared community vision. The vision will be accompanied by goals, strategies, and actions that will help guide future decision-making, capital investments, and programmatic initiatives for the County. For more information on County Planning see below.
What is a Comprehensive Plan?
It is a document that intends to serve as the narrative for where a community is headed, what priorities it has, what investments it should explore or commit to. A Comprehensive Plan is long range and high level.
A Comprehensive Plan is developed through a community planning process that is participatory in nature. The planners involved work with a diverse group of community members “stakeholders” that contribute and help formulate a vision, goals, objectives, strategies, funding and resource identification, planned project implementations and reevaluations of documented local planning policy.
Public Meetings are a part of the planning process, specifically the outreach and engagement process that is used to learn what community residents believe is important to them, what they believe we should be focused on, and what the County should be doing now and into the future.
Why is Planning Important?
It helps create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live. It allows residents to have a say in the future of their community that is documented for elected leaders and private and non-profit leaders. The planning process will help us know what the community wants, what the future may hold, and will identify actions and strategies to get there. Ideally, planning done well, helps a community find the right balance of new development, essential services, environmental and agricultural protection, and forward movement or change.
Planning can prepare a community to make change, or respond to change, or find ways to change without sacrificing the aspects of a community everyone appreciates and wants to remain. It can also help us identify issues and opportunities that weren’t known to all residents or elected leaders.
What does a plan typically look at?
- Existing plans from local, regional, and federal planning
- How and where we live
- History, cultural and environmental resources
- Demographics and trends
- Infrastructure and utilities
- Public facilities
- Parks, Community Centers, regional assets
- Parks, Recreation and Open Space
- Economic and Workforce Development
- Community strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
What is Plan Forward focused on?
- People and Communities
What is the process?
From August 2021 to early 2023 we are working with and throughout the community. During the process we will be out in the community to let everyone know the County is working on a Comprehensive Plan, our vision for the future, and gather your feedback and ideas.
County Planning vs. Municipal Planning
Planning can differ at the various levels of government. In New York State, your local municipality, whether it’s the City of Rochester, a town, or a village has control over local land use. This means they have the power and authority to make laws regarding zoning, or what can be built where. The County does not have this authority and needs to plan in different ways.
When a Municipality undertakes a Comprehensive Plan it will review current land uses and zoning, and look to see if changes need to be made, often reflective of how the community has changed over the years. This often results in a future land use map that might inform a future zoning code that dictates what and where things can be built.
Planning at the County Level is instead focused on infrastructure that often serves multiple communities, this is traditional infrastructure like roads, bridges, sewers, parks, and trails. The Monroe County Water Authority, is an independent entity serves Monroe County by providing fresh potable water. In addition Monroe County offers a variety of social infrastructure or services that are utilized throughout Monroe County via the following Departments, Offices, and Agencies: Department of Motor Vehicles, Public Health Department, Human Services, Environmental Services, Sheriff’s Office, Public Safety, Libraries, Monroe County Hospital, Planning and Economic Development, Community Development, and the Board of Elections.
Accordingly, Planning at the County Level is focused on infrastructure, services, and policies to enhance the delivery and utilization of County assets and programs.
Municipal Planning (City, Town, Village)