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Westchester County has created a new tool for municipalities to be used in the development of local comprehensive plans. This tool assembles maps, charts, figures and analysis, in the form of Web-based data sets. It represents the “base studies” that planners have always used to draft a comprehensive plan. Westchester County has worked in collaboration with the Village of Rye Brook to develop the first comprehensive base studies and since continued that effort to finalize comprehensive base studies for the Town of New Castle

Why are we doing this?
This tool provides a sustantial amount of the materials required to assemble a municipality-wide comprehensive plan. Many plan updates get bogged down in this phase – and it is the most costly. The Department of Planning has an incredible amount of data, from GIS layers to the results of various studies. We are offering local communities this new and efficient means as part of the county's shared services initiative. By tapping into our existing resources, local communities will expedite the comprehensive plan process.

What we have found is that local governments hire consultants who do not always utilize available county data. If they do, however, it is often re-packaged at an additional cost to the local community. If they don’t, the consultant will gather the data anew at even higher cost. Either way, the data used and its interpretation may differ from the county’s, creating problems that could've been avoided.

How should the tool be used?
This base data will become part of the municipality’s Web site and be accessible to all. Web site visitors may want to engage in a discussion that could help narrow down the issues and physical areas that should be addressed in detail in the comprehensive plan.

What’s next in the process?

Base Studies were developed for the Village of Rye Brook in 2012. By July 2014 Rye Brook had completed and adopted its first-ever Village-wide Comprehensive Plan. This was the fastest completion and adoption of a comprehensive plan in recent memory in Westchester County. Since the completion of the Rye Brook Base Studies in 2012, the County has completed Base Studies for the Town of New Castle and is underway with Base Studies for the Town of North Castle..

For more information about comprehensive planning, how a plan gets developed and a plan’s many formats and tools, click on the links below: