CONCORD—Better broadband access, investment in town parks and renewable energy initiatives were among the main focus of Concord residents at the June 28 public input meeting for the comprehensive plan.
Andrew Reilly, the principal director of planning and environmental services for Wendel, opened the meeting with a presentation on the comprehensive plan and the process. Wendel was hired as the firm to present the comprehensive plan. The plan is a document that outlines community goals and future development.
“Once you have a plan … you can make little changes each year,” Reilly said. “Some of the major things … are partnerships, growing businesses and agri-tourism.”
The Village of Springville adopted a comprehensive plan in 2014, which will be taken into account while creating Concord’s plan.
Increasing the accessibility to broadband in the area was met with applause when suggested by residents who noted it will increase the development of the entire community. Along with the improved broadband access, residents listed better cell service as something they would like to see.
Seth Wochensky requested there be a better network of connection between parks for bikers and pedestrians. He also suggested looking at development off Main Street.
“No one talks about the rest of the community, we’re always talking about Main Street,” he said.
Ginny Krebs asked for better walkability within the town, and an increase in pedestrian safety to help residents better age in place. Better bathrooms in town parks, especially for the older population, was requested by Krebs also.
Town Supervisor Gary Eppolito said the town’s comprehensive plan process is being funded by Erie County. Wendel was hired earlier this year and will work with the town and its residents to create the plan. Two more public meetings will be held, before the plan is put before the Town Board in February.
“I’ll take what I heard from the community … and what I believe is the vision of the town and move forward,” Reilly said. “We’re not going to get uniformity … but I take what the public says and put it into writing.”
Reilly will bring back to the town a document outlining what is important to them in September. After that meeting, he said, Wendel will create the plan for a public hearing where it will be presented to residents. From there, the Concord Town Board has the option to approve the plan.
“We can’t start the document without hearing from the public. What they like about the community, what they don’t like,” Reilly said.
Getting ahead of the renewable energy, including solar, electric cars and other technologies, was also cited as a want of the public. The town recently passed solar regulations and the village will be installing car charging stations, but residents at the meeting said there should be more.
Other issues that residents said should be included in the plan were regulating KB Moto, preserving the “quaintness” of the town, increasing adult activities and working with other municipalities for services. It was also suggested that while development is good, the plan should maintain the beauty and natural environments in the town.
Reilly said information on the process, including the suggestions and the date of the next meeting, will be updated to the town’s website, Wendel’s website and distributed to town residents.