Happy Holidays Davidson! It’s been yet another busy month for What’s Next Davidson? The month kicked off with a public hearing at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, December 3. Earlier this week the Planning Board met to review and offer a recommendation on the plan; and, on Tuesday evening stakeholders gathered at Gesthemane Baptist Church to learn about the plan and discuss its content as it relates to West Davidson. Below is a summary of each event and next steps.
Tuesday, 12/3 Public Hearing: The Board of Commissioners held a public hearing at which several people spoke and offered comments regarding the plan. Comments included: The need to ensure the plan fosters small-town character; concern about as well as support for the plan’s sustainability initiatives; the importance of addressing African-American stakeholders’ concerns; the necessary tension in the plan because it reflects a variety of viewpoints; and, acclaim for the public engagement process and plan content reflecting the community’s desires. Clarion Associates also provided an overview of public engagement exercises undertaken and comments received and how these resulted in the plan’s maps and policies. Commissioners discussed the importance of the plan’s vision, timing of plan approval, and the need to address concerns voiced at the public hearing.
Monday, 12/16 Planning Board: Planning Board members gathered for a special meeting to review the plan, offer comments, and make a recommendation regarding the plan. Members discussed the Executive Summary, a new feature arising from the public hearing comments, and plan’s vision – also modified based on public hearing comments to utilize the current Vision contained within the Town of Davidson Mission Statement, which was updated in 2018. They also discussed the importance of the community-based Comprehensive Plan informing Strategic Plan efforts to be undertaken by commissioners in early 2020. Members recommended approval of the plan, joining the Livability Board’s affirmative recommendation in November.
Tuesday, 12/17 West Davidson: Stakeholders gathered for dinner and a review of the Comprehensive Plan from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Gesthemane Baptist Church. Participants discussed the importance of access to housing and jobs not only for current residents but for future residents (particularly those that have ties to Davidson and may wish to move back); providing a holistic approach to residents’ needs such as community-based services integrated within housing; and, the need for a variety of housing types for different stages of life. Participants also discussed the public engagement process and how the various engagement exercises, designed with input from resident-based steering committees, solicited input in a number of different ways from a wide-ranging set of community stakeholders. A strong sense of the need to act was articulated – a sentiment earlier voiced by Plan Advisory Group members this summer and advisory board members this fall as each of these groups reviewed the plan.
Comments from each of these events were gathered, reviewed, and are being integrated into the Comprehensive Plan, which will be posted to the What’s Next website once complete. Highlights of the plan amendments include:
- Inclusion of an Executive Summary linking the Comprehensive Plan’s Vision to the community’s Vision articulated in the Mission Statement, with connections to the historic 1993 General Plan in which community members articulated the importance of small-town character, open space and rural preservation, diversity, and civility;
- Insertion of statements ensuring that setbacks and building form in new development reinforces and carries-forward the town’s historic development patterns;
- Distinguishing between affordable housing and low-income housing;
- Updating text to focus on addressing inequalities by addressing access to services, housing, etcetera;
- Implementation Actions that recommend exploration of the Purpose-Built Communities model as well as improvements to pedestrian/bike infrastructure prior to final acceptance of streets by the town.
Next steps for the plan include review by the Board of Commissioners at their January 14 Work Session. Representatives from the Livability and Planning Boards will provide a report about each board’s recommendation to commissioners, who may elect to adopt the plan at this meeting. Thank you again to everyone that has participated in this process along the way!