Sunday, April 1, 2012

'My' Minutes: Comprehensive Growth Plan Meeting (2012.3.27)

I had previously written about the Comprehensive Growth Plan Meeting we anticipated to have on March 27, 2012.

It was well attended, and I appreciate the mayors of Coopertown, Adams and Cross Plains for taking time to attend this important meeting – recall that the purpose of this meeting was to finalize the “Request for Qualifications/Proposals” to submit this document for bid to various firms.
It is our goal to have this submitted by April 12, 2012 – I will certainly keep you posted here.
Here is the heading from the “Request for Qualifications/Proposals” that I referenced in a previous paragraph. I do have this document in electronic form – if you would like a copy, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Located in north central Middle Tennessee, Robertson County has historically been comprised of rural agricultural areas with several smaller communities surrounding the county seat of Springfield, and along the I-24 and I-65 corridors. Robertson County is bordered to the west by Montgomery County, to the east by Sumner County, to the south by Cheatham and Davidson Counties, and to the north by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Agriculture has historically been the dominant economic force for Robertson County, with industrial development expanding in the late 20th century, and residential suburban development spreading northward from Metro Nashville-Davidson County and Sumner counties.  The increase in residential development has not only brought a steady population increase for the County, but has also highlighted the need for a Comprehensive Plan to balance its historic agricultural strength with changing employment demands and increasing residential growth, resulting from local and regional growth patterns.
Completion, adoption and implementation of a Comprehensive Growth Plan has been formally called for by the Robertson County, Adams, Coopertown and Cross Plains commissions and city councils, as well as by Robertson County Economic Development officials in their recently released Realizing Robertson's Future Economic Development Plan. Robertson County and all municipalities, especially those in the north portion of the county will experience a shifting economic and demographic profile highlighted by projections that call for an increase of approximately 40% in population by 2030.  The 2009 estimated population counts from the U.S. Census Bureau, show an increase of over 26,000 people in this time frame, from the 2009 base population of just over 66,500.  With those new residents will come a need for employment, community services including water, sewer, schools and public safety.   With almost 12,000 new jobs projected for Robertson County, as estimated by the Nashville Area MPO in the 2011 Tri-County Study, Robertson County and its municipalities will be well served by comprehensive planning, focusing in retaining, expanding and locating new jobs for projected number of new and existing residents.
Over the last decade, Robertson County, Springfield and most of the other communities in the county have tried to manage this growth using the conventional planning tools of zoning resolution/ordinances, subdivision regulations and thoroughfare plans.  To keep pace with development demands and costs, and also maintain a high quality of life for the citizens of Robertson County, local government and business leadership has determined that the development and adoption of a Comprehensive Growth and Development Plan (Comprehensive Plan) and subsequent updates to conventional planning tools is essential for this rapidly urbanizing rural county.  These recommendations are supported by wide community involvement in AIA 150 Blueprint for America and Robertson County Quality Growth pilot project results beginning in 2007 until the present time and recent Nashville Area MPO Tri-County Study results for Springfield and Robertson County finalized in 2011
A Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee will be appointed to oversee the process to create the Comprehensive Plan and insure coordination with all involved municipalities.  This Steering Committee will be comprised of approximately 15 members and represent the units of government, citizens, and agriculture, education, business and economic development leaders.  Robertson County, Adams, Coopertown and Cross Plains, and the designated Steering Committee desire the preparation of a legally defensible comprehensive plan that is in full compliance with local and state laws and regulations and tailored to fit the future needs of our changing and dynamic community.
Robertson County, Tennessee and the municipalities of Adams, Coopertown, and Cross Plains, request proposals from qualified consultants or consulting teams to work with the County Commission and City Councils, Planning Commissions, Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee and staff of each unit of government to design and implement a public participation process and provide professional consulting services in the development of a Comprehensive Plan for the County and participating municipalities.  The plan will provide a framework for the development of future public policy and an appropriate plan and process for decisions about growth, development, infrastructure and community service provision and conservation of cultural and natural resources.  The consultant will work with the Steering Committee and staff to design, establish and initiate an inclusive and open public participation process that engages and involves all segments of the county.  The consultant will assist in ensuring that the public participation process and its results are highly visible and communicated to the public and officials of the county and the cities in conjunction with Steering Committee member organizations.
The Comprehensive Plan is important to Robertson County and participating municipalities for a variety of reasons.  The Plan is more than a land use document – it will serve as a policy document by which a number of decisions can be made.  For instance:
The Comprehensive Plan describes a vision for the county and communities located within its boundaries. 
The Comprehensive Plan directs how the county and cities will develop over time and function in the future, the quality of life opportunities that citizens will be able to experience, and the mechanisms for accomplishing that vision. 
The Comprehensive Plan will also recognize that the Robertson County and its communities are keenly aware of their cultural and natural resource based heritage, which is integral to established agriculture and related land-based economies, a vibrant sense of place and unique identity.
The Comprehensive Plan will provide the foundation by which policies on land use, community and neighborhood preservation, economic development, transportation and other infrastructure, social, environmental and quality of life decisions are made.
The Comprehensive Plan provides direction for land developers and homeowners on  future land use, transportation and utility networks, and policies guiding the future development of the County, thereby enabling landowners to protect their investments and focus their efforts.
The Comprehensive Plan will guide the financial decisions of the County and Cities to most effectively direct limited public resources to serve the greater good.
The Comprehensive Plan will provide the basis for future Economic and Community Development decision making, and support Robertson County's diversified current and future economy.
The Comprehensive Plan will include focus on the development of infrastructure to ensure effective transportation, information and water supply and delivery systems critical to maintaining and enhancing the communities efficient functioning and quality of life.
The Comprehensive Plan will enable the Planning Commissions, County Commission and City Councils and other Boards and Councils to make fair and consistent decisions on projects and policies, and insure wise use of fiscal and land resources in support of future economic and community development efforts.