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Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo established the Cleaner, Greener New York Program in 2011 to empower regions to create more sustainable communities by funding smart development practices. The Finger Lakes Region partnered with public and private experts across a wide range of fields, along with community residents, to lead the development of a regional sustainability plan and to implement projects that will significantly improve the economic and environmental health of our area. This effort integrated sustainable solutions—from statewide investments to regional decision-making on land use, housing, transportation, infrastructure, energy, and environmental practices—to improve our quality of life.

The program was administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through a two-phase competitive grant process. Phase I provided $9.6 million in funding to regional planning teams to create sustainability plans or to expand the scope of existing sustainability plans. Up to $1 million per region was awarded. Grants were awarded to a municipality, acting on behalf of a consortium of other municipalities, located in one of the 10 regions defined by the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).

Grant funding was awarded to the Finger Lakes New York Region to develop a stakeholder-driven sustainability plan for the region encompassing Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates Counties.

The Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan (“the Plan”) outlined tangible actions for improving the long-term sustainability of our communities and natural resources. Specifically, the Plan identified:
  • current greenhouse gas emissions and energy use along with available natural resources and economic assets, liabilities and opportunities;
  • strategies for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, energy improvements, and the deployment of renewable energy sources;
  • long-term and short-term sustainability goals for energy supply, transportation, water management, waste management, land use, open space, agriculture, housing and economic development; and
  • actions to achieve these goals and barriers to implementation.

The Plan also includes an implementation strategy that describes how local stakeholders will collaborate, provides a timetable for targeted milestones, and identifies completion dates for the actions identified.

Ultimately, the stakeholder-driven plan was used as a springboard for funding requests in Phase II of the Cleaner Greener New York Program and other implementation processes. The Phase II Cleaner Greener Implementation Phase provided up to $90 million in funding, awarded on a competitive basis, toward regional projects that support the regional sustainability goals identified during the planning process, and that provide the greatest opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and deploy renewable energy, while improving the economic and environmental health of our communities. Phase launched in 2013.

Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan
Cover and Table of Contents 
Executive Summary
Story of Place
Subject Area Goals and Strategies
Plan Implementation