NEW YORK PLANNING FEDERATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Mr. Geoffrey Milz, AICP
Department of Planning & Economic Development
Ms. Lael Locke, Community Planner
New York Planning Federation
Town of Cato Plan for Agriculture and Farmland Protection Wins Statewide Award for Excellence
New York Planning Federation Recognizes Town Plan as Outstanding and Innovative
(Albany, NY) –On Monday, October 10, 2011, at its annual conference, the New York Planning Federation gave its coveted Heissenbuttel Award for Planning Excellence to the Town of Cato for their Plan for Agriculture and Farmland Protection. The award is given each year to an individual, municipality or agency for outstanding and innovative accomplishment in the field of planning.
“The Town of Cato was chosen for three particularly innovative aspects of their plan,” said New York Planning Federation President Wendy Weber Salvati, “The Town focused on the role of local agriculture in the area’s larger food system, they used the Cayuga County GIS to develop a parcel-based Farmland Suitability Index which allows the Town to identify the farmland most suitable for protection, and, lastly, the plan’s resulting strategies are quantitative, implementable and directly tied to the agricultural objectives in Cato’s comprehensive plan.”
The plan was approved by the Cayuga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board at its March 2, 2011 meeting. Board member and consultant to the American Farmland Trust, Judy Wright said, "By developing an Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan, and putting it to work, the Town of Cato is taking a huge step in support of its farm community. Cato values its farms as businesses. This gives farmers confidence to invest in their businesses and continue to work the land."
The Plan identifies 13 strategies for enhancing agriculture and protecting farmland. “In Cato, agriculture is our economic backbone,” said Charles Ray, Town of Cato Supervisor, “it defines our rural character, provides jobs and as a Town we are committed to seeing our farms thrive. This award tells me that we are on the right track toward protecting the land that sustains our farms, our farm families and our biggest industry”
“The Heissenbuttel Award is a real feather in the cap of the Town’s farmland protection efforts,” said Geoff Milz, Planner with the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development, “after 18 months of work the Town truly earned this award and I am proud of the Planning Department’s involvement as the consultant to the project. The Town did a great job in developing the plan and I look forward to seeing it implemented.”
Based in Albany, the New York Planning Federation is a statewide, member-supported non-profit. Founded in 1937, its mission is to promote sound planning, land use and zoning practice in New York State which fosters orderly growth and development, balanced with the protection of natural resources. It is the only State organization that focuses its attention on planning boards and zoning boards of appeal. In addition to its annual conference, the Planning Federation offers on-line training, municipal and regional workshops, publications, a newsletter, and an informational website, www.nypf.org.
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For more information about the Town of Cato’s Plan for Agriculture and Farmland Protection, please visit http://co.cayuga.ny.us/townofcato/agplan.
Photo 1 – Wendy Weber Salvati, President of the New York Planning Federation, presents the Heissenbuttel Award to Tom Lloyd, Chairman of the Town of Cato Planning Board and Geoff Milz, Planner with the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development
Photo 2 – Wendy Weber Salvati, President of the New York Planning Federation, poses for a photo opportunity with Tom Lloyd, Chairman of the Town of Cato Planning Board and Geoff Milz, Planner with the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development