The Village of Monroe hosted its monthly workshop meeting on September 29 in the Monroe Town Hall, where residents discussed and voted on values and ideas that they want to see reflected in the Village’s comprehensive plan.
“Tonight’s meeting is really a meeting about the village of Monroe...we want to hear from you,” said Maximillian A. Stach, a certified planner and partner of Nelson Pope Voorhis. The company provides contract planning services to governments in Hudson Valley and Long Island, and the village chose to collaborate with them for its master plan.
“This is where you work, this is where you shop, this is where you recreate...we’re welcoming everybody to provide input,” Stach said.
Between 7 and 9 p.m., residents split into four groups and discussed the state of the village based on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. After making notes of what was said, a member from each group presented their notes to the whole assemblage and then taped the notes to a wall. Once all four groups’ notes were posted, residents voted for their favorite ideas and values by placing stickers on the note wall.
For strengths, all four groups complimented the village’s rural nature, water sources, and abundant outdoor spaces. “A few examples are Bear Mountain, the Appalachian Trail and Mill Pond,” said Maureen Richardson, a Monroe resident. Other points included the village’s municipal services, such as the fire and police departments, and its lively community.
Next were weaknesses, which residents said included the village’s aging infrastructure, constant traffic congestion on Route 17M, cumbersome online resources, and inadequate zoning law enforcement. As for opportunities, many wanted more communication and transparency from the village board, more recreational activities for children, and better preservation of Monroe’s history.
“Create a cultural center, which would attract artists and creative people into the area to highlight history,” said another Monroe resident, suggesting a way to preserve history. Finally, they talked about threats. Most of that discussion pointed to overdevelopment, overpopulation, and overuse of resources. This, coupled with the high cost of living and potential for spread of misinformation regarding local government, are what the groups considered to be most problematic for the village’s future.
So what comes next? Nelson Pope Voorhis will create reports based on the public’s input and other conditions while the village board reexamines its current comprehensive plan. Nelson Pope Voorhis will then start drafting recommendations based on what the village wants to achieve, and the two parties will collaborate until a concrete plan is reached.
“The very beginning of these things can be sort of nebulous because we like to start these processes with public input. And we’d like to not limit that public input, so that people can really come to the table with their ideas and suggestions and opinions. As the process continues, this will drill down into more detailed directions and recommendations,” Stach said, noting that the final plan will likely be completed in February 2023.
Overdevelopment, overpopulation, and overuse of resources, coupled with the high cost of living and potential for misinformation regarding local government, are what the groups considered to be most problematic for the village’s future.