St. Lawrence County planning office profiled
CANTON -- St. Lawrence County officials want the public to learn more about each aspect of county government. A monthly article will highlight a different county department.
This month’s article focuses on the various advisory boards that staff the County Planning Office.The County Planning Office has been serving the residents of St. Lawrence County since it was first created in the early 1970s. The Office’s six staff have a variety of backgrounds and carry out a number of different job duties that include, grant writing and administration, community development, land use planning, public transit management, Geographic Information Services (GIS), and a variety special projects.
The County Planning Office also staffs four advisory boards that are made up of individuals from around the County. This article will briefly explain each of these four boards in an effort to share their importance with County residents and encourage individuals that have such an interest to attend a meeting or consider serving on a board.
The Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board is an 11-member board made up of agricultural operators and other agri-business professionals that meets quarterly to discuss the County’s agricultural industry. One major function of the Board is to review and recommend lands for inclusion into the County’s two Agricultural Districts. Ag. Districts are created to ensure that agriculture can continue as the primary land use in areas where it is best suited.
The County Planning Board is a 15-member board that meets monthly to review any proposed development project that is within 500 feet of a State or County Highway or municipal boundary. Applications for projects ranging from a new McDonald's restaurant to a utility scale solar array will be analyzed by Staff and then presented to the Board for review. The County Planning Board has the authority to approve, conditionally approve or deny a project if it has Countywide or intermunicipal implications.
The Environmental Management Council (EMC) was created by the Board of Legislators in 1971. During its first 50 years, the EMC has worked on issues of solid and hazardous waste, open burning of trash, relicensing of hydro facilities, several editions of the “Map For All Seasons”, among other projects. The EMC was a strong advocate for the passage of a NYS beverage container deposit law. The EMC worked with members of the County Planning Board to develop a model law to regulate wind farms. The EMC has sponsored environmental projects for every Earth Day (April 22) since the year 2000. The EMC’s four subcommittees focus on Conservation of Resources; the Environment and the Economy; Invasive Species; and Watershed Management.
The Fair Housing Task Force (FHTF) was established by the Board of Legislators in 1991; its creation was a requirement for the County to access Community Development Block Grant funds to re-invest in its housing stock. The FHTF has conducted periodic assessments of the status of Fair Housing in the County; it has sponsored numerous workshops and training sessions for landlords, realtors, tenants, students, and others to increase knowledge of Fair Housing and anti-discrimination rules and regulations. Most recently, the FHTF has addressed the issue of evictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
For additional information on any of these boards please feel free to contact the County Planning Office at 315-379-2292 or email Planning Office Director Jason Pfotenhauer at [email protected]. Additional information about the Office can be found at: https://stlawco.org/Departments/Planning.