State and Regional Policies and Plans
State and Regional Policies and Plans
Responsible Regionalism examines regional and State policies and development plans and establishes goals to ensure that New Castle’s land use planning aligns with these policies and plans, which are listed below. This list is not inclusive, however it emphasizes programs and policies that are most relevant and impact local decision making to the greatest extent:
- MS4 Stormwater Management Program: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) identified the Town of New Castle as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) in accordance with the “urbanized area” definitions of the Census Bureau. As a MS4, New Castle must implement a program of six minimum control measures as well as implement the heightened permit conditions for the East of Hudson Watershed. The six minimum control measures relate to public outreach, education and involvement, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site runoff control, post-construction runoff control and pollution prevention/good housekeeping. As an East of Hudson municipality, New Castle must undertake stormwater retrofit projects to reduce phosphorus contributions to local waterbodies. In addition, the Town’s education program must include phosphorus. For more information regarding this program visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical…
- Westchester 2025: The most direct regional influence from a policy and planning perspective is that of Westchester County. Westchester 2025: Plan Together is Westchester County’s long-range land use planning policy which includes a toolbox to assist municipalities with undertaking local planning analyses as well as 15 policies to guide planning in Westchester County. The County’s policies relate to the identification of development centers, enhancement of transportation corridors, transportation alternatives, establishing interconnected open spaces and recreational opportunities, nurturing economic climate, preserving natural resources, supporting the development and preservation of permanent affordable housing, etc. Like this Comprehensive Plan, Westchester 2025 is dedicated to sustainable development and the balancing of economic and environmental concerns. For more information regarding this program visit http://westchester2025.westche…
- New York City Watershed Agreement: In the early 1990s, New Castle was one of twelve municipalities in Westchester County that negotiated the protection of land use and development rights with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), who at that time was attempting to strengthen its watershed protection regulations. These negotiations came to a close in 1997 with the development of the historic Memorandum of Agreement to Protect New York City’s Drinking Water Supply (MOA). (visit http://www.dos.ny.gov/watershe…) As outlined in the MOA New Castle would participate alongside Westchester County and nine other Westchester municipalities within the Croton Watershed [also known as the Northern Westchester Watershed Committee (NWWC)] to implement various watershed protection programs. The NWWC meets on a monthly basis to discuss program implementation in regards to the MOA. Three of the MOA programs directly affect New Castle and include:
- Development of the Comprehensive Croton Watershed Quality Protection Plan (the Croton Plan) — The Croton Plan established a regional planning effort with the goals of assessing watershed conditions, identifying and putting forth strategies to reduce nonpoint source water pollution, prevent water quality degradation and enhance community character in the Croton Watershed. Some of the best practices outlined in this watershed plan have been incorporated into the New York State Department of Environmental Conservations Heightened East of Hudson Stormwater Permit.
- Wastewater Diversion — The MOA gave rise to the 1998 Croton Watershed Wastewater Diversion Study, which as discussed in Chapter 2: Harmony with Nature, identified three wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and four “focus areas” in New Castle that, because of the age of infrastructure and the population density of the area served, could be susceptible to becoming a source of water quality impairment. To mitigate the risk of an infrastructure failure, New Castle has been looking to implement a project to remove the wastewater from the three WWTPs and one focus area to a treatment facility outside of New York City’s drinking watershed. Some of the project funding has been allocated from the East of Hudson Water Quality Investment Program and the Town continues to seek the balance of funding from other sources.
- Rules and Regulations to Protect New York City’s Drinking Water Supply — The MOA included the adoption of revised “Rules and Regulations for the Protection From Contamination, Degradation and Pollution of the New York City Water Supply and Its Sources”. These Rules and Regulations provided the New York City Department of Environmental Protection with land use oversight over development projects that occurred within their water supply watershed, regardless of municipal land use control. For New Castle, this has created another level of government oversight regarding development within the Croton Watershed area of the community. To view these rules and regulations, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/pd…
- Westchester County Housing Settlement: In August 2009, Westchester County entered into a Consent Decree in a federal action captioned United States ex rel. ADC v. Westchester County, 06 Civ. 2860 (DLC). Among other things, the Consent Decree required the County to ensure the development of at least 750 new affordable housing units by the end of 2016. New Castle was not a party to the litigation and was not bound by the terms of the Consent Decree. Nevertheless, the Town responded proactively by adopting a Model Affordable Housing Ordinance and taking other steps to accelerate the development of affordable housing units in the community. Between 2009 and 2016, the Town approved 62 units of housing that complied with the affordability requirements set forth in the Consent Decree.
- NYMTC: The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) is the metropolitan transportation planning organization for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. NYMTC provides a collaborative planning forum to address transportation-related issues from a regional perspective, undertakes studies for transportation improvements, forecasts future conditions and needs, pools the resources and expertise of its member agencies to plan for transportation and development in the region and make decisions on federal transportation funds. Currently, NYMTC is developing a new long-term strategic plan which outlines NYMTC members’ vision for the planning area and lays out a framework for maintaining and improving the region’s transportation system going forward. This Plan has the potential to influence funding available to the Town for transportation projects.
- Regional Economic Development Councils: In 2010, New York State developed the Regional Economic Development Councils to enable bottom-up, locally stimulated development. It was the perception that top-down planning spearheaded by the State government had imposed economic development strategies on the varied regions of the State, ignoring the unique attributes and needs of each region and, as a result, weakening the State’s economy. Under this program, New York State is divided into nine regions- each with their own economic development goals specific to that region’s characteristics. Through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process, municipalities submit requests for funding from various State agencies for development projects that could advance the region’s economic development agenda. Westchester County is among seven other counties in the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (MHREDC). In 2011, the MHREDC developed a Five Year Strategic Plan which presented fifteen distinct goals focusing largely on making the region the most attractive and supportive of market activity and the economy as possible, while creating desirable, sustainable well-paying jobs. What began as fifteen distinct goals in the Strategic Plan became four Core Strategies and four Supporting Strategies in the region’s 2014 Progress Report, which continue to direct planning and funding opportunities in the region.
- Watershed Protection: As discussed in Chapter 2: Harmony with Nature, New Castle is located within four major watersheds: the Pocantico/Saw Mill River Watershed, the Bronx River Watershed, the Long Island Sound Watershed and the Croton Watershed. As early as the 1990’s Westchester County began to undertake watershed planning to safeguard water quality for drinking water protection, improved recreational uses, and protection of natural resources and biodiversity. Each of the following watershed initiatives involved the Town of New Castle as well as neighboring communities that shared boundaries within each of the watersheds:
- The Indian Brook-Croton Gorge Watershed Conservation Action Plan - This plan, developed by the Westchester County Planning Department, the Towns of Cortlandt, New Castle, Ossining and the Villages of Ossining and Croton-on-Hudson focused on protecting the drinking water supply for the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the Town and Village of Ossining as well as the health of the Croton River. The plan included five major objectives: protecting and restoring natural resources, implementing stormwater management practices, promoting sustainable development, protecting wildlife and educating the public. The Town of New Castle is represented through the Indian Brook Croton Gorge Watershed Committee.
- Croton-to-Highlands Biodiversity Plan - A small portion of the western side of New Castle was included in the 2004 Croton-to-Highlands Biodiversity Plan, along with the Towns of Yorktown, Cortlandt, and Putnam Valley. The Plan inventoried native species and habitats and made recommendations for balancing development with biodiversity.
- The Westchester County Greenway Compact Plan - New Castle is one of 250 communities in the Hudson River Valley Greenway (the Greenway). The Greenway was established in 1991 “to continue to advance the State’s commitment to the preservation, enhancement and development of the world-renowned scenic, natural, historic, cultural and recreational resources of the Hudson River Valley while continuing to emphasize economic development activities and remaining consistent with the tradition of municipal home rule.” In 2007, New Castle adopted the Westchester County Greenway Compact Plan, which qualified the Town for benefits including technical and funding assistance from the Greenway. The Greenway Compact Plan includes recommendations and strategies for development that the Town has agreed to take into consideration when making planning and development decisions. This Plan is aligned with the policies presented in the Compact Plan.
- East-of-Hudson Watershed Corporation - New Castle is part of the East-of-Hudson Watershed Corporation, a regional entity established to meet the heightened East of Hudson stormwater requirements of the MS4 stormwater retrofit program. Through this organization, municipalities in Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess County work collaboratively to address phosphorus reduction requirements.
The character and form of a community is shaped by its Comprehensive Plan and the means to which that plan is implemented. New Castle and the municipalities that share its borders all have varying degrees of development in proximity to these shared political boundaries. For example, in some instances, development is similar to New Castle’s in that it is low-density residential. In other instances, development is as much as two times as dense as that within the Town. These similarities and differences should be considered in local decision making to the greatest extent practical to be cognizant of the impacts of land use changes on neighboring municipalities. In addition, and as discussed in other chapters of this Plan, sustainable development and the incorporation of renewable resource use has become a priority for the region. This, combined with the need to update infrastructure systems (e.g. roadways, sewers, water systems), highlights the importance of pursuing Federal and State funding in partnership with our municipal neighbors.