6:40am

Wed June 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse & Onondaga County combine planning offices

Onondaga County lawmakers have taken the first step towards creating a new joint city of Syracuse-county planning agency. Current city and county offices that both have planning duties will be combined into one.

Legislator Kathleen Rapp says the consolidation of the two planning departments will streamline the current planning process, easing the regulatory burden for businesses that deal with zoning issues.

"It's more streamlining, clarifying a chain of command. Making things more consistent, so that when developers or homeowners come in they know who to go to answer to. Before it was pretty murky," said Rapp.

And she said it's a good thing to happen at a time when many local governments in upstate New York are talking about consolidation.

"It's certainly a big first step, because  if we are looking at the county holistically, it starts with planning," said Rapp. "So if we can all be on the same page, and working on the same goals it'll be more helpful than having many different fractious entities of government."

Creating the new Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency means four planners will move from the city onto the county payroll, including the new director, Andrew Maxwell.

"Those charges will be charged back to the city abstract, so they'll be paying the same, and we'll have our same staff on the county payroll," said Rapp.

Officials say there will be no tax  impact.  Syracuse Common Council and the state Legislature also have to approve the plan.

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