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Highlights of the
Town of Clinton Master Plan

'The key document in guiding our future'

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Land Preservation page
SEQR Process page
Approach to Zoning in Clinton
Proposed Wetlands Law

The Town of Clinton Planning Board adopted a Master Plan in 1991. This Plan reviews the status of Clinton’s community values (from a survey of town residents), history, natural resources, population and economic profile, housing, community facilities, transportation, and existing land use. The Plan includes 74 different recommendations for how Clinton should take action to preserve its rural and historic resources.

While some of these recommendations have been enacted, many—and many of the most significant—have not. Specifically, while the town has encouraged landowners to preserve resources, it has not adopted tools or implemented strategies to proactively protect and preserve Clinton’s unique resources and character.

This is not an issue of enforcement of existing regulations. The town needs to implement the Master Plan through a process of
(a) adopting the necessary tools to allow the Town to actively protect and preserve Clinton,
(b) prioritizing the environmental, historical, and rural resources for protection, and
(c) enacting legislation or ordinances to achieve these ends.

Below are some of the highlights of the Master Plan. Links will take you to the original document. You can also download it as a PDF file.

Community Values

The 450 survey respondents (representing 32% of those who were mailed surveys) was deemed a representative sample of the general population. About 39% of respondents had lived in Clinton for 15 years or longer.

In general respondents supported only limited changes to their community. The Plan states: “Preservation of the town’s historic character and natural elements was the strongest sentiment, and while townspeople did not see the need for more government services, they do appear to favor an active approach to land use control and planning” (p.9).

91% agreed that Clinton’s natural beauty and rural atmosphere (90%) were its greatest assets.

87% agreed that Clinton’s hamlets are important to the character of the town and 88% agreed that their historic character should be protected from incompatible development.

92% agreed that as development occurs, regulation should protect wildlife, prime agricultural soils (88%), wetlands (86%) and water resources (95%).

Historic Preservation

The Master Plan states: “Unless the town enacts protection measures, the development pressures so evident in Clinton and the surrounding communities threaten to irreparably alter the historic and scenic character that is so valued by residents” (p.26). Specific steps that were recommended to be taken included:

Continuing the historic survey process resulting in nomination of eligible buildings to the National Register of Historic Places
Designation of districts in the hamlet centers “that are so crucial to Clinton’s identity”
Official town recognition of local landmarks


The Master Plan makes 74 recommendations. We include here only highlights pertaining to preservation of the rural, historic, and aesthetic character of Clinton. Links will take you to the full set of recommendations.

Goal: To preserve the character of the town and enhance the sense of community among Clinton’s residents (1.1-1.6)

A committee should be appointed at least every five years after adoption to review and recommend amendments to this plan in conjunction with follow-up surveys and/or resident forums on current planning issues.

The town should maintain adequate land use and planning regulations

Goal: To identify, protect, and restore Clinton’s historic buildings, sites, and roadside cultural features. (2.1-2.9

The Critical Environmental Area status of the seven historic hamlets should be used to thoroughly review the environmental and historic impacts of development decisions
The town should develop guidelines to insure that new development does not detract from the setting, scale, and design of surrounding architecture and landscape features.

Goal: To preserve the natural resource base on which the quality of life in Clinton depends. (3.1-3.11)

The town should discourage the development and encourage protection of 100-year floodplains, wetlands, surface waters, slopes over 15 percent, and ridgelines to ensure minimal disruption of their environmental function and scenic qualities.

Land use policies and regulations should provide for densities which are compatible with the soils’ ability to support development, while protecting prime and important agricultural soils

The town should identify and protect its scenic resources, including open space views and vistas.

Reduced assessments, development plan trade-offs, government purchase of development rights, and other similar approaches should be encouraged to allow desired natural resource protection.

Goal: To allow economic opportunities that are consistent with the primarily rural, residential character of the town. (4.1-4.6)

Goal: To provide a broader range of housing sizes and types in appropriate locations for all Clinton’s residents, including young people, the elderly, and households earning less than the median income. (5.1-5.10)

Goal: To provide municipal facilities and services that will meet the residents’ basic needs and improve opportunities for community activities. (6.1-6.11)

Goal: To provide a safe and efficient transportation system, while preserving the town’s scenic an historic roadside features. (7.1-7.11)

Goal: To promote a pattern of land use that reinforces the community’s hamlets and preserves the town’s natural resources and rural character (8.1-8.10)

A community design plan should be developed for all of Clinton’s historic hamlets to recommend landscaping, parking, circulation, sign and public space improvements, with suggestions for the enhancement of historic buildings and the use of vacant land in the area.
To preserve open space and agricultural lands, the town should promote such techniques as the use of conservation easements, purchase of development rights and tax incentives for the maintenance of open space.
The town should take full advantage of the State Environmental Quality Review Act as a means to obtain detailed information on the environmental and community impacts of proposed development, make potential concerns open to public comment, and consider project alternatives.

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