Lupardo Sponsors Training to Help Planners Build “Livable Communities”

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) sponsored a free training program yesterday on Cluster Development & Incentive Zoning for members of planning and zoning boards, municipal leaders, economic developers and other interested parties. The Southern Tier Homebuilders & Remodelers Association and the Aging Futures Partnership joined Lupardo in sponsoring the training.

Cluster Development allows a number of dwelling units to be placed in closer proximity than usual, with the purpose of retaining an open space area, such as a park. Incentive zoning is a tool for municipalities to offer a variety of incentives to developers.

Last year, Lupardo formed an advisory group to work on ways to help our community become more “elder-friendly.” Over the past year, the focus has shifted to developing livable communities – communities that welcome all generations, including seniors.

According to AARP’s website, “a livable community is one that has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and adequate mobility options, which together facilitate personal independence and the engagement of residents in civic and social life.”

“Affordable and accessible housing continues to be a concern and priority for seniors, first-time homebuyers and others in our community,” said Lupardo. “This training can help communities like ours overcome many of the zoning barriers that exist.”

“Not everyone is interested in living in a large two-story home. Other areas have more options for those who want smaller, new, one-level housing,” said Ann McNichols, a volunteer with the Aging Futures Partnership. “This is an exciting first step to making this type of housing available in our community.”

“On a consistent basis, we field phone calls and emails wanting to know why the Southern Tier doesn’t have developments and sub-divisions like so many other areas in the US,” said CJ Bowe, Executive Officer of the Southern Tier Homebuilders & Remodelers Association. “It is our hope this training will move us in a forward direction of facilitating the process to give our community what it is asking for.”

The program fulfilled a New York State training requirement for members of planning and zoning boards. A new state law that Lupardo supported (Ch. 662 of 2006) went into effect this year and requires a minimum of four hours of training each year for members of County, City, Town and Village Planning and Zoning Boards.