Economic Development
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Economic Development Goals
Insure and encourage future business development that is in keeping with the character of the respective neighborhood and the town.

1969 Plan's Expected Growth Failed to Occur

The 1969 plan describes Hurley as a community going through ‘suburbanization.’ Hurley’s explosive growth in that decade stemmed from the arrival of IBM and the expansion of other manufacturing facilities. Most of those facilities are now gone or relocated.

Today the Town of Hurley is clearly a bedroom community with a smattering of second or part-time homes. Most people commute to work within the region; some to NY City or Albany. Few commercial or industrial enterprises exist here.

Towns depend on business to strengthen the tax base and spread the cost of community services. The citizens of Hurley consistently resist adding commercial or industrial districts but are anxious to maintain a low tax rate.

And Hurley Residents Are Glad It Didn't

In our 2003 survey 60 % of the respondents indicated a desire to limit future development. In the public forums, most indicated that they were content to travel for both work and shopping. Kingston, Ulster, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and Albany – Hurley residents would rather travel than compromise the rural feeling that still exists in much of our community today.

The intent of the current zoning is to ensure that future business development is in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. It allows for a variety of business uses in a very few limited districts.

Revisiting those 1969 Choices

This excerpt from the 1969 plan (pdf) describes choices and recommendations that seem even more relevant today than in the intervening years since IBM closed. In our surveys, however, today’s Hurley residents show little interest in most of them. (Emphasis added by us)

Hurley can continue its present trend of suburbanization and increasing economic dependence for employment outside of the Town or it can attempt to attract industry into the Town. Hurley is relatively close to the NY State Thruway interchange and has several major state routes within the Town. Also several areas of the Town which are relatively flat and near these state routes are still vacant. These factors of available suitable land plus the proximity to major transportation arteries are critical for industrial development. An industrial district can be designed in such a manner so that traffic will not have to traverse a residential area. In addition. performance standards, site plan review and buffers can make industrial uses compatible in the Town.

As the Town continues to grow, its residents will require additional services such as schools, recreation and fire protection. The provision of these services will result in increased costs to the Town.

Industrial development within the Town will not only broaden job opportunities but will also broaden the tax base to help pay for the increased services and facilities required by a growing Town.

A similar beneficial effect on rateables and employment will occur from increased business activity within the Town. Increased business activity will benefit local residents by providing more shopping convenience.

It is recommended that the Town as a matter of policy provide sites in the Town for industrial development. This can be accomplished through zoning specifically for industrial uses or through the floating industrial district concept. This latter means of making land available for industrial development is particularly advantageous to a Town which has abundant vacant land such as Hurley. The floating industrial district as part of a zoning ordinance will allow land to be used for industrial purposes only after review of a proposal by the Planning Board and Town Board. In this manner planning consideration including landscaping, buffer and off-street parking as well as consideration of the suitability of the particular site for industrial use can be reviewed before the industrial district is established.

No Interest in Industry in Hurley, But No Interest in Increased Taxes Either

Survey feedback clearly indicated that today the Town is content as a bedroom community. Other than the limited business opportunities noted, there is little interest in economic development. Thus far, the increased tax that accompanies bedroom communities has been held in check. That may not be possible in the future.

Whether future growth is the result of planned residential development or in-fill building on lots scattered throughout town, the need for additional services will continue to grow. Someday our fire departments may need paid staff to supplement or replace the volunteers. The roads, libraries, schools and recreation areas need maintenance and expansion.

The conflict between the demand for no economic growth and minimizing tax increases will continue to grow.

Let's Make Good Use of the Sites We Have

Hurley’s resistance to business development outside the currently zoned areas has prompted us to look at how the current business districts can be better used. The recommendations related to the Route 28 overlay district and light industrial zones stem from those discussions.

Support Home-Based Business

We have also looked at the changing nature of employment in our region. Telecommuting and home businesses are on the rise. Small business development is flourishing. We support and encourage this development as long as it doesn't interfere with neighbors.

Encourage Tourism

Tourism is a mainstay for the region, but, as a Town, we have done little in the past to support it. We have included a few recommendations to welcome visitors and support those who build businesses serving them. Bed and Breakfasts, antique shops, crafts people and artists, restaurateurs and farmers markets will benefit from marketing the town’s history and beauty. Minor zoning changes will support them.

Employment and Earnings

We include the following table to establish a context for current and future discussions.

It’s interesting to note that despite the rural character of the town, only 1.6% of the population works in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining. This is actually an increase from 1969 when .8% were employed in this category.

Comparative Economic Data
% and # in labor force (1969 based on population over 14; 1990 & 2000 over 16) 61.3%
Mean Travel Time 26.6 min  NA NA
Work at home (*walked to work included in 1990) 6% (1.7%*)  6.6%*  NA
Selected Occupations
Management, Professional & Related Occupations 42%  45.7%  31%
Sales and Office Occupations 25.7%  13.2% 24.4% 
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining 1.6% 1.4% .9%
Selected Industries 
Educational, Health, and Social Services 28.9%  20.8%  NA
Retail 11.4% 15%  14.5%
Manufacturing 10% 31.5%  29%
Professional, scientific, management, administrative 8.7% 14.3%  9.9%
Median Family Income $59,487 $51,215 $6806**
Per Capita Income $25,864 $19,333 NA 
   Source: 1990 & 2000 US Census; 1969 Comprehensive Plan
**Highest Median Income in Ulster County