Work on city’s land-use plan nearing its end

Published 10:33 pm Saturday, April 28, 2007

By Staff
Draft reflects expected growth in Washington
Contributing Editor
Reflecting development — completed and under way — in Washington, the draft of the city’s revised land-use plan is being prepared for public inspection and, later, adoption by the City Council.
Bobby Roberson, the city’s director of planning and development, said the difference between the revised plan and the existing plan is as different as “night and day.”
The Planning Board, at its meeting Wednesday, decided to set up a public informational meeting where people may review to draft and comment on it. The date, time and location of that meeting has not yet been decided, but the board did choose to conduct that meeting before May 22.
The City Council, as required by law, will conduct a public hearing on the draft of the revised land-use plan, which the Coastal Area Management Act requires the city to update on a regular basis. CAMA applies to each of the 20 coastal counties and requires them to have land-use plans in accordance with guidelines established by the Coastal Resources Commission.
Land-use plans are used to help guide growth. They help local governments determine where growth should occur, decide what types of growth are appropriate for specific areas and provide strategies and policies that address the following management topics: public access, land use compatibility, infrastructure carrying capacity, natural hazard areas, water quality and local areas of concern.
Dale Holland, principal with Holland Consulting Planners, is working with the city on the revised land-use plan. The draft has been reviewed by the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, which made several recommendations and changes that are reflected in the latest version of the draft, he said.
The revised plan is comprehensive and user-friendly Holland said. The current plan is outdated and not a suitable document to guide planning decisions by the city in the future, he said.
The revised plan includes the following elements:
After the public informational meeting is held in May, the revised plan will go to the City Council for action. The council’s public hearing on the plan should take place Aug. 27, according to a proposed schedule. If approved by the council on that date, the plan will be sent to the Coastal Resources Commission for its approval. The commission is scheduled to meet Sept. 27-28 to consider the plan and other commission business.
The Planning Board talked about conducting its own public hearing on the plan, but it decided it’s had plenty of public input on the plan during the past year or so. The board decided the informational meeting should be an informal, open-house type meeting were people may inspect the revised plan and ask questions about it.