Marlborough supports tracking program
Marlboro resident Judy Moore gave a presentation to the Marlborough Town Board seeking their support for tracking devices for kids with autism. The $1,000 per unit cost and the $100 a month per unit monitoring fee will be paid for by a federal grant through the Justice Department. Moore, who is a parent of a child with disabilities, is an advocate for children with special needs and is also an independent wellness consultant.
Moore said a new law in effect, called “Avonte’s Law,” funds voluntary electronic tracking devices for children who fall within the autistic diagnosis spectrum. The law was named after Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic child from New York City who wandered away from his school and was found dead three months later.
Moore said the tracking device “can be worn as a bracelet, a necklace or sewn into clothing.” She said studies estimate that 60 percent of children who have autism “go wandering at some point.” Moore said her own son, Nicholas, wandered off twice and the Marlborough Police Department located him and brought him safely home.
“I don’t want to think of what the other outcome could have been,” she said.
Moore has contacted Marlboro School Superintendent Ray Castellani and Marcie Scaturro, who chairs the school’s Special Education Committee, to see how many parents might be interested in these devices for their children. The Marlborough Police Department then requests funding from the Justice Department and the devices are purchased from an area supplier.
Moore said First Responders Disability Awareness training is available at no cost for the Police and Fire departments, EMS, 911 and Emergency Management. The training covers what the different disabilities are and what symptoms they will see while assisting an individual in the field.
Moore said she will inform the board as the federal program is fully rolled out and the devices become available.
Revising the master plan
Charles Voss, senior land use planner with Barton & Loguidice, offered the board ways to update the town’s master plan. After reviewing some of the town’s recent studies, he said Marlborough might only need to go through a revision process rather than a full update of their master plan. The town’s present plan was compiled and adopted in 2002.
“As planning theory goes, every five or 10 years you want to update your comprehensive master plan … as growth and development pressures come into the community,” he said.
Voss said he believes updates are important in order to remain current with what is happening in town. He pointed out that the present plan is based on census data that is now 30 years old.
“There is a lot of fundamental information about the town that is probably very outdated,” he said. “It’s time to look at that and start to think about it.”
Voss said a new plan will highlight where the town wants growth to happen. Most state agencies now require towns to have adopted a new master plan before even being considered for grant funding for such programs as Main Street improvements, water district extensions and for growth and development issues.
“They look at consolidated funding applications [and] what does your comprehensive plan say about the type of project you’re going after; does your community support it [and] is it substantiated in your plan?” Voss said. “It’s critical to have this in place.”
Voss said it is now accepted practice to have an updated master plan in place before making additions or adjustments to the town’s zoning code – “because basically zoning enacts the Master Plan.”
Voss said he initially will meet with the committees in town to inquire what they would like to see included in any new plan and will develop a scope of work to fit the town’s budget.
Voss submitted to the board a color-coded spread sheet that outlined the procedures and timelines involved in updating a master plan. The spreadsheet starts with project tasks and moves into listing the ways the public can offer their input, to eventually developing a vision with goals and recommendations. The document also offers information on how to develop a draft document, what environmental issues should be considered and how to compile a final draft that eventually will be adopted.
Supervisor Stephen Osborn said the current master plan is rather vague and does not contain enough specificity to meet today’s growth needs. He pointed out that approximately 35 people who are involved in various town committees want to take part in the revision process.
The cost to revise the master plan is $20,000 and the Town Board has received $5,000 from Hudson River Valley Greenway that can be used for this purpose. Greenways stated mission is “to continue and advance the state’s commitment to the preservation, enhancement and development of the world-renowned scenic, natural, historic, cultural and recreational resources of the Hudson River Valley while continuing to emphasize economic development activities and remaining consistent with the tradition of municipal home rule.”
The Town Board previously set aside $15,000 in their budget and last week unanimously approved appropriating it and the Greenway money to pay for the revision of the master plan under the direction of Barton & Loguidice.
By MARK REYNOLDS