09/02/07 — Commissioners to hear final commentss on comprehensive plan

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Commissioners to hear final commentss on comprehensive plan

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 2, 2007 2:00 AM

Finally, after nearly two years of work, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners appears poised to approve the county's comprehensive plan, following a 9:15 a.m. public hearing Tuesday.

It will be the last chance for residents to comment on the plan, which was put together by a special citizen steering committee, vetted by a community forum in May and approved by the county Planning Board in June.

The 27-page document is intended to provide a long-range vision for Wayne County, setting out policies and proposed implementation actions for future growth and development.

It features 12 vision areas ranging from transportation to housing to public safety to water and sewer issues, and includes a growth strategy map identifying what areas of the county might be best suited for certain types of development.

Since work on the plan began, Glenn Harbeck, of consulting company Glenn Harbeck Associates in Wilmington, has stressed that it is a living document and can be changed and adjusted in the future, but that it is designed to be used on a day-to-day, decision-by-decision basis.

"You're not going to be able to put this on the shelf once it's adopted," county attorney Borden Parker said. "You have to make reference to it (when making decisions)."

In addition, the commissioners also are scheduled to decide whether or not to approve the $370,000 purchase price for a 46-acre tract of land in the Grantham community that the county Board of Education currently is holding an option on.

The school board's decision to move forward with the purchase option was made at its July 2 meeting. It has held the option for the last three years, paying out $11,100.

The land, which is currently owned by Ruth Hardy, is located off of U.S. 13. Current plans show it to be the future site of a new middle school to serve the southern end of the county.

Despite their delay, the commissioners have indicated that they don't have any objections to the school board purchasing the land -- as long as the price appears fair.

And, according to David Littleton with Wayne Appraisal Service, it is.

He appraised the property to be worth about $368,000 -- $8,000 an acre -- but he also said that the property could sell within a range of $350,000 to $390,000.

And finally, the board is expected to vote on a capital project ordinance to release $758,857 from a reserve fund for the continued renovation of the first and third floors of the Jeffrey's Building on John Street, where the county's Emergency Management Department is housed.

"We actually had the money set aside specifically for this project," county Manager Lee Smith said. "We put the money aside, I think, over two fiscal years."

The commissioners' meeting will begin at 9 a.m., with their regular briefing session starting at 8 a.m.