By Jesse Wood
Aug. 29, 2013. The Town of Blowing Rock is in the process of updating its Comprehensive Plan and took another step forward with the “kickoff” public-input meeting on Tuesday evening.
Building upon the foundation of the 2004 Comprehensive Plan, the version to be finalized in the spring is “intended to serve as both a physical and policy plan to guide the Town of Blowing Rock’s future decision making concerning land use and development, preservation of the natural environment, recreation and cultural resources, economic development, municipal services, transportation, and regional cooperation,” according to a general description of comprehensive plans by Benchmark, a Kannapolis-based firm contracted to assist in the creation of the plan.
Essentially this is a long-term plan to provide policy direction on what Blowing Rock will be like and how it will operate for the next 10 to 20 years. Rothrock said that, for example, the creation of a parks and recreation master plan and a stormwater plan evolved from the work completed during the 2004 Comprehensive Plan.
The topics of Tuesday’s “kickoff” meeting, where about 50 community members, business leaders and government officials attended, were land use and community character; economic development and tourism; transportation, infrastructure and municipal services; and parks and recreation and natural and cultural resources.
Blowing Rock Planning Director Kevin Rothrock noted that the meeting was held to “gather big ideas about several topics” and not necessarily to jump “to solve problems.”
The beginning of the updated comprehension plan began in 2012 with a survey sent out to residents of Blowing Rock, which nearly had a 25 percent participation rate. Those results were analyzed and compiled by N.C. State University Center for Urban Affairs.
The first draft of the updated Comprehensive Plan will be prepared sometime between November 2013 and January 2014 with public input on that first draft in February and March 2014. The final version of the plan will be prepared March through June – after which it will be adopted by June.
The “public visioning process” will continue in October with three more public workshops to be held at Town Hall:
- Tuesday, Oct. 8 – Downtown (Two opportunities – 12 to 2pm and 7-9pm)
- Tuesday, Oct. 15 – Existing Hospital Property (Two opportunities – 12 to 2pm and 7-9pm)
- Tuesday, Oct. 29 – Valley Boulevard (Two opportunities – 12 to 2pm and 7-9pm)
- Tuesday, Nov. 12 – Summary (meeting to be held following Council meeting)
More information about the Town of Blowing Rock Comprehensive Plan process can be obtained by visiting http://www.benchmarkplanning.com/blowingrock or by contacting the Planning Department at 828-295-5240.