In Need of a Plan

At the City of Kingston Planning Board meeting tonight, which included public input over design guidelines for the proposed CVS on Washingston Avenue, several residents urged the board to carefully consider the historic attributes of the city in designing the building.

There were also concerns about the need for another drug store in the city. Isn’t four enough?

Tom Hoffay, alderman, said he was concerned that the site plan included a curb cut that would allow cars heading south on Washington Avenue to make a left-hand turn — across three lanes of oncoming traffic — into the proposed CVS lot. That’s not safe, Tom said.

All of these concerns are valid, and the developers of the site should listen carefully. After all, the residents of the city are the ones who have to live with this for years to come after it is built.

From my perspective, the proposed CVS is just another clear example of why Kingston needs a comprehensive plan.

Like others who attended the meeting, I’m not against development. I’m for smart development, projects that are environmentally sound (think low-carbon footprint or better yet, zero-net energy), support local businesses, bolster the tax base and differentiate the area from other towns and cities.

A comprehensive plan can guide smart development and would act as a blueprint for Kingston’s future. A CP could have clear design guidelines that help maintain the historic aspects of the city. The CP could include development guidelines that encourage mixed use buildings. The CP could set guidelines for our historic districts, waterfront (expanding the recently completed waterfront plan) and gateway areas.

For their part, several city officials — especially city planner Suzanne Cahill — understand the need for a comprehensive plan. Perhaps with strong public support, steps can be made to create one.

As far as funding is concerned, I think there are grants out there that Kingston can tap. That can help us get started.

If you are interested in pursuing this idea, let me know. Let’s do it. Let’s do something. A CP that has not been updated in nearly 50 years is an embarrassment.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

2 thoughts on “In Need of a Plan

  1. One way to get the ball rolling is to do what Lowell Thing, Rebecca Martin and I have been doing: every time there is a meeting that relates to planning in the city, mention the need for a CP. At the same time, look around your own neighborhood and see how you would like to see it change. Talk with your neighbors and see what they want changed. Create a vision for your block, and get people working on small tasks such as a clean up of the street or finding places to plant flowers and such.

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