01/12/05 — Work on Wayne land-use plan to begin in spring

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Work on Wayne land-use plan to begin in spring

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on January 12, 2005 2:12 PM

Wayne County officials plan to begin work this spring on a comprehensive, countywide land-use plan.

The land-use plan would be a guide to how the county wants to develop, officials say. It would designate areas for agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial development, and could shape how infrastucture is extended.

The plan would not be zoning, but it could lead to increased zoning, especially in high-growth areas and land along the proposed U.S. 70 bypass.

The county is tentatively planning to hire a consulting firm, perhaps as soon as April. The process would include public meetings and would likely not conclude before early 2006.

During their work session Tuesday, county commissioners voiced support for the long-anticipated land-use plan.

Chairman J.D. Evans noted that it had been a recommendation of the county's strategic plan, approved by a citizens' group in 1997.

Greater control of development is needed as the county becomes more urban, County Manager Lee Smith said. A land-use plan is a first step, which could be followed by zoning in some areas that need the protection.

While most landowners resent any restriction on their own property, they tend to want some control over what goes up next door, Smith said. "They all want some protection of their own investments."

Tuesday night, the Wayne County Planning Board joined the call.

Planning Director Connie Price said a land-use plan can shape development in several ways.

It can assign areas where farmland preservation should be a priority, he said. It can contribute to protection of natural resources and wildlife habitat.

A land-use plan can show whether the county wants to encourage redevelopment inside already urban areas or allow sprawl, he said. It can target areas for economic development, housing and recreation.

It can help plan for schools, fire districts and emergency services. It can also show the county where it wants to extend infrastructure, such as sewer lines, and seek better roads.