By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Orleans County Planning Board gave a positive recommendation Thursday to the proposed update to the Town and Village of Albion’s comprehensive plan.
The board’s approval leaves only municipal approval as the final step in a two-year process to set specific and general guidelines for how to encourage smart growth in the town and village.
Barbara Johnston, the Stuart I. Brown Associations senior planner who guided the development of the plan, detailed the update to the planning board Thursday.
Johnson said the changes represent the views that local leaders and residents are the most emphatic about — protecting farms from commercial development in the town, encouraging residential development in the village, and precluding any additional land fill development.
“The plan addresses land use, residential neighborhoods, agriculture, infrastructure and commercial development,” Johnston said.
Town Codes Enforcement Officer Dan Strong and Ron Vendetti, his counterpart in the village, both answered questions about the plan, which updates a 1996 plan covering both municipalities and the Town of Barre.
Strong said that the land use changes recommended in the plan would bring the local zoning districts in line with not only preferred development but with longstanding uses of properties, like the Freeman’s Cycle shop on State Highway 31.
“(The rezoning) makes it match what it is used for,” Strong said.
In the village, one of the largest changes is turning a wide swath of the neighborhoods west of Main Street from a multi-family to single-family zoning. Vendetti said the goal is to return the deteriorating large houses that have been split into apartments over the past few decades to their original standing.
County Senior Planner Jim Bensley said that aside from unresolved questions about the future of Albion’s bridge infrastructure there was little to worry about in the proposed plan.
“This is a rational successor to the 1996 Comprehensive Plan,” Bensley said.
Both the village and town board will have to approve the plan before it can go into effect as the guiding document for municipal policies. The plan recommendations would become law without additional action by local governments.
• The County Planning Board also tackled a pair of projects that would turn historic buildings in a pair of hamlets into residential properties, giving one approval but sending one back for clarification.
The board gave it’s recommendation for the Town of Ridgeway to approve a special use permit and site plan review for a multi-family apartment house at the former Knowlesville Hotel and Erie Inn.
Property owner Gary Saj said his intent is to restore the building, a centerpiece of the hamlet, to its original splendor. It would have six apartments.
Joan Page has similar plans for a historic church in Kenyonville, but her request for a special use permit was withdrawn with the intention of bringing it back to the board for review in the new year.
Page said she would cater to those coming to the area to fish in nearby Lake Alice, with four smaller suites and one three-story suite that would have access to the building’s restore cupula.
Boardmembers said they needed a cleared definition of how the property would be zoned before they could make a recommendation to the Town of Carlton.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.