Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Common Ground Alliance Issues Updated ‘Blueprint’

Common Ground Alliance Adirondacks 2014Organizers of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance (CGA) have released an updated Blueprint for the Blue Line, a set of legislative priorities for the Adirondack Park for 2015 and beyond.

For the last seven years, CGA has brought together a diverse collection of stakeholders to foster a dialogue and seek collaborative solutions for complex problems Adirondack communities face. The updated Blueprint, crafted using feedback from a legislative poll of CGA participants, calls for increased infrastructure funding and restoration of operational budgets for state agencies that serve the Adirondacks, as well as policy actions that support renewable energy, smart growth, and more.

“The good news is: We are making progress. Among the CGA participants, we have evolved from agreeing in simple areas, to developing a shared vision, and we have now moved on to prioritizing action items,” William G. Farber, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement issued to the press.

The Blueprint argues that infrastructure for clean water, tourism, roads, and bridges is either in disrepair or severely lacking, with small, rural communities in the Adirondacks in need of assistance from the state to address the problem. CGA’s Blueprint proposes capital fund grants for preventing and combating invasive species; buried broadband communications lines and well-screened functioning cell service; state-land infrastructure, trails, bridges, signage, and ecological restoration; and farmland protection funding distribution.

CGA believes Adirondack communities would benefit from an increase in operational funding for state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency for outreach, stewardship, and community support. The Blueprint also recommends continued and expanded I Love NY funding; increased resources for Forest Preserve stewardship; and greater emphasis on promoting local farm products and increased support for local food production and young farmers.

Finally, the Blueprint proposes a series of policy updates, such as passage of community net metering legislation; a closer look at APA policies that promote smart growth; and revision of the State Land Master Plan.

Those policy suggestions include:

a) Pass community net metering legislation to support the State Green and Renewable Energy agenda.

b) Look closer at Adirondack Park Agency (APA) policies to include current, science-based reforms including transfer

of development rights (TDRs), clustering and smart-growth incentives for landowners and communities.

c) Consider a State Land Master Plan (SLMP) update and adoption of comprehensive landscape scale planning.

d) Draft an amendment and enabling legislation that address environmental and community concerns regarding road
and utility infrastructure in the Adirondacks.

To read the updated Blueprint for the Blue Line, visit www.adkfutures.org.

Photo: Participants at the 2014 Common Ground Alliance meeting in Long Lake. Courtesy Adirondack North Country Association.

 

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