Open Space Planning in Action
The Opens Space Plan Update will build on many of the City of Saratoga Springs past planning efforts dating back to 1994, recognizing and protecting the "City in the Country".
These plans have helped shape Saratoga Springs into the vibrant, attractive, successful city it is today.
Scroll through this page to learn more about each of these plans. You may also click on one of the plans below to jump to that section.
Click through the gallery to see examples of how our community today has benefited from past planning efforts!
1994 Open Space Plan
The 1994 Open Space Plan for the City of Saratoga Springs was developed following the recommendation from the City's 1987 Master Plan. The Open Space Plan for the City of Saratoga Springs was officially adopted in 1994.
The plan included a set of twenty-five policy recommendations including the preservation of wetlands, stream corridors and the development of trail systems. These recommendations were aimed at furthering the vision of Saratoga Springs as a "City in the Country" by protecting the "the critical boundary between rural landscape and town...".
1994 Open Space Plan Vision
The Open Space Plan for Saratoga Springs aims to protect the critical boundary between rural landscape and town with purposeful urban design. As the City continues to develop, care must be taken to maintain a vital urban center with a strong rural edge. With its emphasis on infill, its focus on consolidation as an antidote to sprawl and its stress on the preservation of land and fiscal resources, the 1994 Open Space Plan aims to safeguard the survival of Saratoga’s economic health and visual appeal.
2001 Working Plan for Historic Preservation
The Working Plan for Historic Preservation, officially adopted in 2001, created a framework for the continued preservation of the City's historic character.
The plan laid out a set of recommendations for the preservation of historic features and districts. These recommendations included expanding the City's National Register Districts, expanding educational programs and heritage tourism, as well as identifying new strategies for funding.
2002 Open Space Plan Update
The 2002 Open Space Plan Update built upon the recommendations of the 1994 Open Space Plan. The updated plan provided a blueprint and tools for furthering the communities vision of the “City in the County.” It included an inventory of the remaining open space resources within the City including agricultural lands, rural roadways and wooded areas. The plan described the relationships of these assets to one another and how they can be connected to create a network of open spaces. See the 2002 Open Space Plan Map below.
The plan also included recommended strategies for open space conservation including creative site design, purchase/donations of land or easements, as well as partnerships with government agencies, organizations, businesses and institutions. The plan recommended the establishment of a dedicated source of funding for the purchase of land for permanent conservation and/or recreation.
The 2002 Open Space Plan Map. Click on the map to expand.
2002 Open Space Bond Fund
On November 5, 2002, Saratoga Springs voters approved Proposition No. 1 of 2002 to establish an open space bond program to protect, preserve, enhance, and improve environmentally sensitive, recreational and scenic land.
The open space bond program was to be used "to fund the acquisition, protection and maintenance of ownership, rights and interests in land and improvements thereto, for active and passive park and recreational purposes, and preservation of open areas." (Chapter 110-4 (B)).
Over the past 20 years, the bond funds have been expended in the purchase and protection of lands such as Pitney Farm, the Waterfront Park, lands along Loughberry Lake, and land along the Kayerdeross Creek. As of October of 2020, approximately $200,000 remains within the bond fund. The map on the left, created as part of the 2020 Natural Resources Inventory, illustrates the lands conserved through the expenditure of the bond fund.
Loughberry Lake, pictured above, is an example of land conserved through funding from the 2002 Bond Act..
2012 Complete Streets Policy/ 2016 Complete Streets Plan
The 2014 Saratoga Springs Complete Streets Policy was followed in 2016 by the Complete Streets Plan. Complete Streets encompasses the design, planning, and operations of transportation systems in the City.
"Complete Streets" are streets designed and operated to enable safe use and support mobility for all users. Those include people of all ages and abilities, regardless of whether they are travelling as drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, or public transportation riders.
The purpose of the Saratoga Springs’ Complete Streets Policy is to ensure that new and updated public and private projects are planned, designed, maintained and operated to enable safe, comfortable and convenient travel to the greatest extent possible for users of all abilities including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. The Complete Streets Plan provides the planning tools, design guidance, and public input to make all of our streets Complete Streets.
2013 Urban & Community Forest Master Plan
The 2013 Urban & Community Forest Plan
The 2013 Urban and Community Forest Master Plan established an action plan aimed at preserving and expanding the City's urban forest.
An "urban forest" refers to trees existing in urban areas such as City parks, as well as those planted along the sidewalks of streets in urban areas such as Downtown Saratoga Springs.
The Plan specifies planning, regulatory, and enforcement policies that the City will engage to encourage the preservation and expansion of the urban forest on public land, in order to maximize the City’s benefits.
2014 Saratoga Greenbelt Trail Feasibility Study
In 2014, the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail Feasibility Study provides a vision of a 24 mile system of shared use paths and connecting trails which forms a loop around the City of Saratoga Springs.
Today, the City is working toward that vision by linking into existing trail segments including Spring Run Trail, Railroad Run, Bog Meadow Trail and the Saratoga Spa State Park trails. Construction is underway on the Geyser Road connector trail. The Downtown Connector segment is in the final stages of the planning process.
Visit the project website to learn more: Saratoga Greenbelt Trail (saratoga-springs.org)
Adopted Saratoga Springs Greenbelt Trail Map (click to expand)
2015 Comprehensive Plan Update
The 2015 Saratoga Springs Comprehensive Plan Update is a unified set of policies that will guide the future development of the City of Saratoga Springs. The Plan consists of nearly 250 recommended actions and a Future Land Use map that indicates the desired location, uses, and intensity of development. The Plan
included several recommendations related to open space including:
"Protect Sensitive Environmental Resources"
"Promote pedestrian & bicycle access..."
"Support the City's sense of history and the "City in the Country" by preserving the quality of, and linkages among cultural and open space resources"
"Protect open space resources that constitute a vital economic component and a valuable environmental, aesthetic and recreational amenity"
This Plan sets forth the following vision for the community:
Saratoga Springs is the “City in the Country.” This concept reflects a city with an intensively developed urban core and an economically vibrant central business district, with well-defined urban edges and an outlying area of rural character, comprised of agriculture, open lands, natural and diverse environmental resources, and low density development.
2019 Recreation Master Plan
Competed in July 2019, the Saratoga Springs Recreation Master Plan was created to help the city meet the recreational needs of the City. The plan included an assessment of the current recreational needs and provided recommendations for the future of recreational assets within Saratoga Springs.
Some of the key recommendations included the connection and expansion of trails within the City as well as the improvement of the City's existing parks and recreation infrastructure.
2020 Natural Resources Inventory
The City of Saratoga Springs received grant funding through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to complete a Natural Resources Inventory.
The NRI identified important naturally occurring resources within the City of Saratoga Springs including groundwater resources, farmlands, significant wildlife habitat and more.
The plan identified a set of priority recommendations including the protection of water resources, the preparation of a Climate Action Plan, the strengthening of resource protection in the Greenbelt to fulfil the "City in the Country" vision, and more.
The NRI is the first step to determine the baseline for updating the 2002 Open Space Plan as well as the future creation of a Climate Resiliency and Vulnerability Assessment.
The 2020 Natural Resources Inventory