Union County

As town plans its future, you can speak out

The Town of Waxhaw has made a major effort to involve residents and stakeholders in the development of a comprehensive plan for the future. The plan draft was presented last week at a series of public meetings. Town residents are shown here at the first public meeting.
The Town of Waxhaw has made a major effort to involve residents and stakeholders in the development of a comprehensive plan for the future. The plan draft was presented last week at a series of public meetings. Town residents are shown here at the first public meeting. COURTESY OF THE TOWN OF WAXHAW

By the time Waxhaw develops and approves a comprehensive plan for its future, residents and stakeholders will have had a chance to speak up.

The town has just finished a series of meetings where the draft of the Comprehensive Plan for the future was presented and input was sought. Just in case you missed those meetings, the plan draft is available online at the town’s website, www.waxhaw.com, and your input is solicited.

Waxhaw had a 15 percent growth in population from 2010 to 2015. Against this background of dynamic growth and changing demographics, Waxhaw saw the need to update its master plan, which had been completed in 2009.

According to the Comprehensive Plan draft, “The Town Board of Commissioners appointed a 12-member Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee to oversee the Comprehensive Plan update. The Committee held its first meeting to begin the process in January 2015.”

The steering committee met with stakeholders and focus groups to get input. That input was incorporated by the steering committee and reported to town residents in a series of public meetings in May.

After completing the first round of public meetings, the steering committee held topical review meetings that focused on elements of the comprehensive plan. Those meetings were advertised, open to the public and facilitated by steering committee members.

The topics reviewed included: Parks and Recreation; Cultural Resources; Historic Preservation; Natural Resources; Municipal Services and Infrastructure; Municipal Services and Infrastructure; Transportation and Land Use; and Growth Management.

The topical review meetings began in June and were completed in September.

A full draft of the Comprehensive Plan update was prepared and posted on the project website prior to the scheduled public meetings. The public meetings included morning, afternoon and evening sessions on Nov. 9 at the Community Room in the Police Department and a morning session on Nov. 12 in the same location.

By the time the plan was presented to the public in November, 1,650 people had commented. More than 140 public and committee meetings took place. Steering committee and town staff engaged a broader audience at public events such as First Friday and Art Kaleidoscope.

Is everybody happy? Probably not. But the process is not finished.

On Nov. 12, a joint meeting was held with the steering committee, planning board and commissioners to review the draft plan and discuss implementation priorities. There will be another round of public hearings and the plan could be approved in January 2016.

Looked at from the standpoint of participative democracy, I applaud the Waxhaw town commissioners, the steering committee and all the citizens who took the time to share their views. Residents may have differing views on various aspects of the plan when it is adopted. That’s life in America.

But one thing that can’t be said is “Nobody asked for my opinion”

John Anderson is a freelance writer: jafortrel@aol.com.

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