Carl Sagan, astronomer and philosopher, wrote "You have to know the past to understand the present.”
The recently announced EnvisioNR planning process is intended to create a revised Comprehensive Plan for the City of New Rochelle. To put this effort in context today some history is in order. The EnvisioNR will be a successor to the Revised Comprehensive Plan which was adopted by New Rochelle City Council on July 30, 1996. That revised plan built upon the Master Plan for New Rochelle completed in 1965 which was updated in 1977.
The 1996 Comprehensive Plan was prepared by Saccardi & Schiff, Inc. which worked with a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee and the New Rochelle Department of Development.
Members of the City Council at the time were Tim Idoni (Mayor) and Rhoda Quash, Noam Bramson, Alex Eodice, Joe Fosina, Ruth Kitchen and Chris Selin. The Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (COMPAC) consisted of 12 people and included two council members (Kitchen, Eodice) along with a future council member (Marianne Sussman) and a future City Judge (Anthony Carbone). Also on the commitee was Lois Brechner, Jay Kreisberg, Gerard Ragone, Joseph Rossini, Sebastian·Bulfamante, Jacquetta Cole, Teresa Morales and Dr. Jason Silverman. Three of the members of the COMPAC members were members of the Planning Board (not sure which 3, little help here) and the Committee reported its findings to the full Planning Board. The Department of Development was led by Commissioner Joseph Madonna along with Alan Schuman and Ed Lynch.
The entire Revised Comprehensive Plan (adopted 1996) plus Amendments can be downloaded here.
Reading a Comprehensive Plan is an effort. It is long, detailed and filled with jargon. For those who want to be a party to the discussions on the current EnvisioNR planning, it is a must read. You are urged to download the PDF document linked above and read it with a notepad handy to capture questions and ideas for the current planning.
No matter what your interest in the current planning process, every New Rochelle resident will find at least skimming Section II: CITYWIDE CONDITIONS AND PLANNING STUDIES worthwhile. It is listed as about 50 pages but the format of the document is such that it is really more like a 20 page chapter of a book. There are many interesting historical tidbits containing in this section and, for many, sure to be some nostalgic memories of past political figures, businesses and previous land use battles. What is truly amazing is the number of issues that we are still grappling with today -- moving the City Yard, downtown development, the North Avenue corridor, parkland and much more. It's been 20 years since that plan was being developed but sections read like it could have been written today.
Do you know why there is a large traffic circle on Memorial Highway? Do you remember the Munchkin Day Parade around the Library? Did you know that the school district taxes utilities and why? Do you know what runs underneath Stephenson Boulevard? These and other nuggets are nestled in among Section II.
If this is not enough to get you interested to download and review the 1996 Comprehensive Plan, click "read more" and continue after the jump.