Chatham rolls out draft of new village plan

CHATHAM–The Chatham Village Comprehensive Plan Committee held a public hearing on the proposed new plan on this week. With about 20 people in the audience at the Tracy Memorial, Matt Rogers, a planning and research consultant who worked with the committee, presented an outline of the plan, which has not been updated since 1995.

Mr. Rogers presented the new plans vision statement at the March 24 meeting, which reads in part, “A combination of tourism, arts, recreation, close-knit neighborhood and home-grown businesses set the Village of Chatham apart from other communities.”

He said the committee reached out to many local community groups for input on the plan, including business owners, arts organizations, seniors and teenagers. “Small-scale character of village is very important,” he said was one thing many of the groups stressed.

In reviewing the plan, Mr. Rogers talked about the village’s relationship with CSX Transportation, the railroad company that owns the tracks, and the state Department of Transportation. He talked about cleaning up spots along Railroad Avenue that could be used as green space in the village, and creating more green space on the Village Green, which would mean opening up a dialogue with Kinderhook Bank, since the bank owns land next the green.

The committee recommended a kiosk with information about local events and better signage on the roads leading to the village. Also, there was discussion about the former Blue Seal building on Hudson Avenue and the property around it, and the Central Square Building at the traffic circle. Both buildings, Mr. Rogers said anchor the village. He said that might be grants that could help the private owners to revive those buildings. “You could do all kinds of stuff there if money was no object,” he said of the 6.5 acres of the Blue Seal property, along Route 66.

There was also a recommendation about evaluating the existing Historic Overlay District regulations, which would mean changes to the zoning laws.

The full draft plan is online at the village website, www.villageofchatham.com, and copies are at the Chatham Public Library on Woodbridge Avenue and at the Village Clerk’s Office in the Tracy Memorial.

The committee is accepting public input on the draft plan until April 13. Written comments can be submitted to Mayor Tom Curran at or at the Tracy Memorial at 77 Main Street, Chatham, NY 12307.

Once the committee has revised the plan, it will go to the Chatham Village Board for approval. The board will hold a public hearing on the plan before voting on it.

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