Jamestown's City Council has the latest draft of the plan for neighborhood revitalization upon its table.
"The City of Jamestown, New York: A Livable Community" will be available for a late December vote.
The comprehensive document was introduced at the council's Housing Committee on Monday. And after months of debate, insertions and deletions at the Planning Commission and other venues, there was little discussion from the two dozen city officials and public in attendance. Committee members Stephen Szwejbka, I-Ward 1, and Mike Taylor, D-Ward 3, offered to approve the plan and present it to the full council. But Tony Dolce, R-Ward 2, raised the question about how two follow-up sections related to section one - whose pages contained the original consultant study, "Reinvesting in Itself."
"I think actually that sections two and three are 'wrap-around' for the czb plan, said Housing Chairman Paul Whitford. "Because that was our initial challenge - 'Reinvesting in Itself.' What has happened since then is a wrap-around document. It (the czb study) is the primary document."
With the committee's pending approval, city Director of Development Steve Centi spoke on behalf of the process of developing the revised document and how its acceptance would permit the city leadership to begin new objectives.
Said Centi: "In the past, there was a lot of dependence upon either the non-profit or public sector to really bring forward rehab activities and neighborhood improvement. The element that was missing was community empowerment, and that is a cornerstone of what (consultant) Charles Buki proposed, and follows with what we are proposing as well."
He said the city would use its traditional resources, like the Community Development Block Grant it is entitled to annually. But Centi added the newest version of the plan would encourage a reconfiguration of policies within the city, as well as its relationship with the county and state government.
"We're going to be reaching out to some people to assist us in our efforts as we go forward," he said.
The "living plan" of recommendations includes all but a pair of original objectives by the original czb study. It declares that selective property tax relief for its "Clustered Good Neighborhood Initiative" is illegal according to state Real Property Tax Law. But it also culls the "Rental Registration Plan," which Centi said was a divisive issue among collaborative entities.
"Were not getting away from the that, we still feel there needs to be some type of landlord registration," he said. "We're putting it back in the hands of the legislators ... and we're recommending that City Council embrace that and go through a process to bring that idea into a plan that works for the city."
Additional recommendations brought up within the Planning Commission include strategies to "right size" the residential neighborhoods. That includes petitioning the federal and state government to limit its funding of "unwarranted" housing stock to be constructed in the region, and seeking relief from the state's asbestos abatement standards.
Centi said the current path of the plan, and its upcoming council vote, will be an "acceptance of the body of work that has been done."
Council President Greg Rabb, who had obligations outside of the state and could not be present, distributed a letter in anticipation of the committee's approval.
"When we started this process as a result of a recommendation from the Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission, I noted that revitalizing neighborhoods was going to be more difficult than revitalizing downtown because we are talking about peoples' homes and where they live," he said. "I also warned that there would be many setbacks and steps back before we moved forward. Now is the time to move forward. And I look forward to the City Council Housing Committee recommending the adoption of this plan to the full council for our vote on Monday, Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m."