01/24/06 — Residents share their thoughts on land use

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Residents share their thoughts on land use

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 24, 2006 1:49 PM

The Wayne County Planning Department began the process of gathering public opinion for the county's Comprehensive Land Use Plan during a public meeting Monday night at the Wayne Center.

The process of developing a plan began more than a decade ago when county leaders agreed that a comprehensive plan was needed to guide Wayne's growth.

"This is the culmination of 15 years of work. We made the steering committee last year and this is our kickoff for public involvement," Planning Director Connie Price said.

More than 50 people attended the meeting Monday night at the Wayne Center.

Interactive maps, which allowed people to designate their own areas of concern, such as highways, schools and other public facilities, lined the walls of the center. Attendees later broke up into small groups for discussion. Each was asked to write down what they would and would not like to see happen in Wayne over the next 15 years.

"Think ahead 15 years. With things changing so fast, it can be a hard thing to do. There are so many aspects to think of. There are job changes and the economy. I want you to think about what could happen to Wayne County over the next 15 years," consultant Glenn Harbeck said. "What would you wouldn't want to see happen? What would you want to see happen?"

Many ideas were proposed during the brainstorming session.

Walter and Eugenia Daniels said the county needs to address social issues. They suggested more outreach programs for young men to help them develop into productive citizens. Mrs. Daniels said such programs could help the next generation become better-educated, better fathers and more active members of society. She said the county also should plan for more homeless shelters, more domestic violence support programs and improved storm drainage.

Of the hundreds of participants' suggestions that lined the walls of the Wayne Center, tax issues, education, transportation, sewer service, preservation of farmland and support for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base were prominent. Construction of a civic center also was listed as a priority.

Harbeck said that although committee members would focus on bigger issues, every suggestion would be considered by county planners and the county commissioners.

Over the next several months, all three groups will use the information to prepare for the next public session. At that meeting, the policies and recommendations presented Monday night will be presented, Harbeck said. Then, it will be up to the residents to decide the future of Wayne County planning.

"Everyone can come and vote their convictions on those policies," Harbeck said.

A date and time have not been set for the next public involvement meeting. However, the steering committee will meet monthly for the rest of the year.