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The Greenway planning approach is one of thinking regionally as communities plan locally. It includes physical connections and linkages between communities for local and regional benefit. Additionally, it extends beyond physical linkages to encourage voluntary regional cooperation among the communities and counties of the Hudson River Valley to address issues of collective concern and promote mutually beneficial regional approaches.

The Greenway Compact program takes community planning one step further by providing a process for voluntary regional cooperation to further the Greenway criteria of natural and cultural resource protection, regional planning, economic development, public access, and heritage and environmental education. For communities that choose toparticipate, a variety of financial and procedural benefits are

The Greenway has designated the counties as the basic planning areas for the development of the Greenway Compact, although sub-county associations of local governments may also be able to prepare a regional planning compact. Each Compact area will develop a regional planning compact that addresses the Greenway's five criteria as well as:
Incorporation of provisions to identify development of regional impact and areas of regional concern and

Identification of necessary public facilities and infrastructure consistent with the Greenway criteria.

The voluntary participation of municipalities in county Compacts preserves local decision-making authority while providing expanded opportunities for regional cooperation. Public and community participation in the development of county Greenway plans is critical to their success. Greenway compacts reflect the concerns of local communities and provide a regional context for local planning efforts.

Six counties have begun the regional compact process and are actively engaged in developing compacts for communities in their counties:

Dutchess County Greenway Compact: A Model Greenway Compact: Dutchess County’s Greenway Connections.  Dutchess County developed the first model compact plan in 2000 that serves as the benchmark for compact planning.  Dutchess County’s Compact, Greenway Connections, has translated into numerous intermunicipal partnerships and projects, and has served as a guide for the coordination of state, county and local government priorities.  The Greenway Guides offer best practice examples of Greenway principles in action. 

29 of the 30 communities in Dutchess have adopted the Compact and more than half have undertaken revisions to their comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances to implement it.  At the same time, the County has appropriated $5 million and committed an additional $2 million to its open space and Farmland Protection program.  Projects completed and pending will protect 2,465 acres of farmland through PDR and 556 acres of public open space through fee simple acquisition. 

The Initial success of these county programs have led municipalities in Dutchess to appropriate more that $9.7 million in matching local funds for open space and farmland protection. 



Orange County Compact: In June 2013, the Hudson River Valley Greenway approved the Orange County Compact Plan. The County will use the Greenway Compact as a strategic planning tool in order to create a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable future. The County has used an approach similar to the model used in Dutchess County and will use the compact to bring all county policy plans and documents into a single cohesive document with actions that local governments can implement. This has included fully developed resource definitions, maps, and recommended actions in the categories of water resources, agriculture, recreation, landforms and landmarks, and biological diversity.  Incorporation of the Orange County Design Manual has also provided specific, real-world applications and tools that communities can adapt for use in multiple situations including site design, neighborhood development or open space protection. 


Orange County Greenway Compact 

Organge County Design Manual

Westchester County Greenway Compact: In June 2004, the Hudson River Valley Greenway approved the Westchester County Greenway Compact Plan, The Greenprint for a Sustainable Future. The plan was prepared by the Westchester County Department of Planning as part of the Hudson River Valley Greenway initiatives and was adopted by the Westchester County Planning Board on June 2, 2004. The plan includes a regional economic development strategy while promoting tourism, main street revitalization, protection of significant resources, and increased access to the Hudson River. Since 2004 many Westchester municipalities  have taken action to become a Compact Community. More information and a copy of the plan can be found at


Putnam County Greenway Compact: Putnam County's Compact recognizes that a variety of resources, plans, and concepts are already in place or underway. Putnam County Pathways creates a framework within which municipalities, business, and civic leaders can build community sustainability by utilizing a mapped inventory of cultural, historic, environmental, and economic resources. The plan formulates integration strategies for these resources, and identifies strategies to strengthen traditional community centers. In addition, the plan provides model codes and ordinances that serve as models for implementing the strategies promoted by the plan. The Greenway Council adopted Putnam's Compact in 2008.

Putnam County Pathways Plan

Putnam County Pathways Resource Map

Putnam Pathways Companion CD (PDF Portfolio) (Model Codes and Ordinances)


Rockland County Greenway Compact: Rockland County Rockland County’s recently completed comprehensive plan, Rockland Tomorrow, will serve as the Greenway Compact Plan for the county.  The plan represents Rockland's vision for the future by balancing growth with good planning principles and the protection of natural resources. The development process recognizes a variety of resources, plans and concepts that are already in place. Rockland County’s Compact will provide planning assistance and guidance to its municipalities, businesses and civic leaders in an effort to strengthen local and regional economies, protect the unique natural and cultural resources, and work to ensure sustainability. The Greenway Council authorized Rockland’s Compact in January 2012.


Ulster County   The Greenway provided a $49,000 grant in 2010 for the development of Uslter County’s Greenway Compact.  The plan will be developed in conjunction with the goals of the County’s economic development, housing, transportation and open space strategies.  The Compact development process will help communities bolster a balanced approach to local economic development, preservation of community character, open space protection, heritage education and help incorporate smart growth principles as core strategies.  The final plan will identify priority growth areas, design guidelines and best practice communities use to grow in more sustainable ways. 

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