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Harrison Spends $48K to Complete Master Plan

HARRISON, N.Y. – Two days after hearing a presentation from BFJ Consulting on updating its master plan, the Harrison Town Board voted unanimously to pay the company $48,000 to complete it.

According to Comptroller Maureen MacKenzie, the town already has $18,000 set aside specifically earmarked for the master plan. The additional $30,000 will come from contingency.

“We need to get a rudder on this ship as it goes out to sea,” Mayor Ron Belmont said at the March 15 town board meeting regarding updating the master plan. “We need to start going in a positive direction. The whole idea of a master plan is to look towards the future.”

But not every resident is convinced that the time is right to spend the town’s money on this endeavor. Resident Robert Porto pointed out that the town, like all other municipalities across the state is facing a 2 percent tax cap levy, which will reduce the amount of tax money available.

“I just hope the board is on a path to save money,” Porto said. “Because of the economy, everybody is going through a little bit of trouble right now.”

Resident Mike LaDore commended the board for pursuing the master plan but said that the town should go a bit slower on the process to implement it since whatever is adopted will affect the future of the town. LaDore said that using the draft master plan from 2007 would be a “mistake” since that plan was based on ideas from the last adopted master plan in 1988.

“We need to start from scratch,” LaDore said. “Harrison has changed a lot in the last six years and has changed drastically since 1988.”

And another issue bothering LaDore is that BFJ Planning Principal Frank Fish suggested that the town reject an environmental impact statement due to the cost to do one. But LaDore said that the positives and negatives of any future impacts on the community are necessary to look at.

“We need something that offers middle ground for development,” LaDore said. “We see what happened in the Brentwood section where two houses were built on lots that used to have one. Sometimes that’s good but we have to study it.”

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