DOBSON — Meetings have been set to allow the public to view and provide input on the county’s proposed Land Use Plan 2020, according to Surry County Planning Director Kim Bates.
The most recent draft of the proposed plan is now available for view on county government website, along with the current plan which is now in affect. Both documents can be accessed directly at www.co.surry.nc.us, Bates said.
The proposed plan is designed to address emerging land use issues and conservation strategies. It is being updated to include current economic factors, Bates said. The current plan, Land Use Plan 2015, was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in October 2006.
Frequent updates to the county’s comprehensive land use plan are encouraged by many state and federal agencies, Bates said, and that information can factor into grant money for prospective businesses.
“People who fund projects like to see that you have an updated plan,” Bates said. “It can actually impact the economic development of the county. Having an updated, well-thought-out plan shows that you have your fingers on the pulse of the patterns and trends going on.”
The proposed plan takes the current economic climate into account, and tightens down on the amount of land designated rural growth areas, according to the planning director.
The draft employs blue text to present updated information. It also includes maps showing existing land use trends and future recommendations.
“Taken together, these maps would encourage a more compact development patter than previously recommended, near existing water and sewer lands and urban centers,” Bates said. “This may prove to be the most significant message of the updated plan, an even more diligent, more conservative stewardship of county resources may be advisable in these times.”
The proposed plan, presented to the Board of Commissioners during its May meeting, constricts rural growth areas, updates the small area land use plans and takes into account economic factors including:
• The 60 percent decline in manufacturing jobs in the county since 2000.
• The doubling of the county’s unemployment rate since 2004.
• The slowing of residential development.
Interested citizens can learn more about the plan as follows:
On Monday, July 9 at 6 p.m., the county Planning Board will hold its regular monthly meeting in the commissioner’s meeting room in the Surry County Government Center in Dobson. During this meeting, a number of stakeholders will be invited to attend for general discussion of the plan. The public is welcome to attend, Bates said.
On Monday, July 23, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., the public is invited to informally visit with county planning staff and planning board members in room 335 of the county government center for overview and discussion of the draft plan and associated maps.
On Monday, August 13, at 6 p.m., the Planning Board will hold its regular monthly meeting in the commissioner’s meeting room in Dobson, and will hold a final review of the updated plan before its submission to the county Board of Commissioners for adoption.
The Board of Commissioners is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposed plan on August 20 at 6 p.m., during their regular meeting. It can be adopted at any time after that hearing.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.