Comprehensive Plan Update

By Gene E. Cross, Jr. 

Simply put, a comprehensive plan is a long-range plan with goals and recommendations to guide the future development of a community. The State of New York grants municipalities the authority to adopt zoning laws and requires that those laws be in accordance with a community’s comprehensive plan. Zoning and the Comprehensive Plan, a technical document prepared by the State Departments Division of Local Government Services offers this description: “The comprehensive plan is the culmination of a planning process that establishes the official land use policy of a community and presents its goals and a vision for the future that guides official decision-making.”

Section 7-722 of New York State Village Law offers a framework to guide communities in the preparation and adoption of a Comprehensive Plan and offers this definition: “… the materials, written and/or graphic, including but not limited to maps, charts, studies, resolutions, reports and other descriptive material that identify the goals, objectives principles, guidelines, policies, standards, devices and instruments for the immediate and long-range protection, enhancement, growth and development of the village.”

The preparation of a comprehensive plan is as much a process as it is a product. The existing comprehensive plan was the culmination of a two-year effort by a citizens advisory committee led by a planning consultant. The first steps included a Traffic Impact Study prepared by Eschbacher Engineering, P.C. and The Village of East Hampton Commercial District Study prepared by the consulting firm of Wallace, Roberts & Todd, L.L.C. (August 2000). These documents contributed to an in-depth assessment of the character of the Village and its potential for change, which led to the formulation of a Vision Statement adopted by the committee. The Plan includes numerous recommendations with respect to: preserving the Village’s neighborhoods; supporting the Village’s commercial needs; protecting the Village’s natural resources; preserving the Village’s historic character; providing for the Village’s transportation needs; providing residents with facilities and services; working cooperatively with the Town of East Hampton; implementation of the Comprehensive Plan; and future revisions to the Plan.

The 2001 Village of East Hampton Comprehensive Plan included the recommendation that after 20 years, the Village should consider undertaking a completely new comprehensive plan.

Following this recommendation, the Village Board has recently issued a Request for Proposals from qualified planning consultants to undertake this process. Given the scope of this undertaking and its implications for the future, it is essential that residents take part in guiding the future of the Village.

For more information on documents referenced, please visit:; or

To read the present Comprehensive Plan: