08/22/12 — Future of Goldsboro urban area focus of discussions

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Future of Goldsboro urban area focus of discussions

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 22, 2012 1:46 PM

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Dale Holland

In discussions with both the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Goldsboro Rotary Club this week, consultant Dale Holland spelled out what factors will allow for additional growth within the city's outlying urbanized area and how the revamped land use plan can ensure the right kind of growth occurs.

Holland, of Holland Consulting Planners, said the higher levels of government like to see planning at the municipal levels, which is why planning costs were subsidized for a comprehensive land use plan for the urbanized area's 124,231 acres of land, which makes up 35 percent of Wayne County's 355,200 acres.

The city is acting as lead planning agency for the MPO for the $135,500 study. State transportation funds is paying 80 percent of the cost, or about $108,400 with the city picking up the other 20 percent, about $27,100.

While the plan would not be a regulatory document, he said it would create a benchmark for the area as it plans out its future through 2035.

Local stakeholders -- citizens and businesses -- would form the vision, he said, with his charge being to find a way to implement it.

"My job is to help get that vision into a plan," he told Rotary Club members Tuesday.

Holland highlighted statistics showing Goldsboro was being outpaced by the rest of the state in many respects, including population growth, but that there were a handful of factors that could assure the area could prosper in the future.

"Regional accessibility is a big deal," he said, noting that the urbanized area was now an interstate city thanks to Interstate 795, but that it was up to local leaders as to how they would capitalize on it.

The city's location could become even more lucrative, he said, if a deepwater port were to be implemented either at Morehead City or Wilmington, especially if the interstate is continued south to intersect with Interstate 40.

Outside of accessibility, he also noted that investments into Goldsboro's central business district and the possibility of direct passenger rail access put the city in a good position.

He also summarized survey results from residents which identified the public's priorities, chief among them providing support for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Next identified was the diversification of the city's industry, followed by improving the public education system.

Holland note that less than 0.5 percent of the estimated 83,000 population in the urbanized area had participated in the survey, which can be found at plangoldsboro.org.

Also, few people attend the monthly sessions held at City Hall, he said.