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Economic Development and Planning

The Planning Department affects the lives of all Schenectady County residents by coordinating sound planning with local, state, and federal agencies. The Planning Department can extend comprehensive services that encompass many aspects of planning, zoning, subdivision and environmental review, riverfront revitalization, transportation planning and traffic safety, recycling/solid waste planning, ground water protection, airport planning, agricultural protection and promotion, and part and recreation development.

An integral responsibility of the Planning Department is to provide advice and technical assistance to the County Manager, the Schenectady County Legislature, and municipal governments. Through comprehensive planning, balancing economic development and the preservation of resources our quality of life and natural environment can be enhanced.

Examples of services that are beneficial to county residents include:

  • Comprehensive, metropolitan, regional, and municipal planning
  • Securing federal & state grants for large and small-scale projects
  • Reviewing local development proposals

Current Projects

Geographic Information System

Since 1992 the Schenectady County Department of Economic Development and Planning, with help from an Environmental Protection Agency grant, has been expanding its Geographic Information System (GIS). Our GIS, the Schenectady Internet Mapping System (SIMS), has grown into a state-of-the-art system with an extensive list of computer-generated data layers. SIMS is an important tool for County administrators - providing assistance with information requests, creation of maps and demonstrations for various projects. Through SIMS, the Department assists the County's E-911 system, Board of Elections, Public Health Services, Office of Real Property, Emergency Management Office, Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, Watershed Board and other County agencies. The GIS staff also provide technical assistance to local municipalities, public organizations and private businesses within Schenectady County. Some of the issues studied with the GIS are economic development, land use and zoning changes, natural resource inventories, agricultural preservation and riverfront development. A public GIS application known as SIMS Lite is available, providing access to most of the data layers developed. This application can be accessed at

The GIS also provides a depository for historic and current digital aerial photographs and maps. Available maps include original maps created for specific planning studies, such as the Aquifer Protection Zones (PLATE 1), Agricultural Districts, Parks Inventory and other municipal-based maps. Some of these maps are available for distribution and may require a fee.

Related Links:

Cornell University Geospatial Information Repository

New York State Dept. of Transportation

New York State GIS Clearing House

USGS Earth Science Information Center