Clinton looks toward 2035 — and its citizens

Chris Berendt Staff Writer

December 27, 2013

A long-term planning document detailing where the City of Clinton sees itself in 2035, and how it will get there, cannot be developed without the help of the community it will impact, those already involved say.

The first portion of the Clinton 2035 Comprehensive Plan has been released and is available for public consumption following the work of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), city officials, citizens and others, who will continue to work in 2014 to complete the document.

A comprehensive plan is a roadmap which provides guidance on where and how a community will grow and change over a given period of time. For Clinton, that period of time starts at 2014 and extends to 2035.

“The intent of the project is to draft a plan that will establish a solid foundation for the ongoing planning program and to serve as the primary policy guide for short and long-range planning, zoning and development related decision-making within the Clinton planning area,” said Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose.

She preached the importance of public involvement throughout the process, a key cog to the plan’s development wheel. With the entire community impacted by the plan, the more input, the better, Rose noted.

“The primary purpose of a comprehensive plan is to provide long-term guidance to citizens, property owners, and decision-makers on land use and other community issues such as where future development and re-development should occur,” Rose said. “The comprehensive planning process will invite community input and discussion which will also address and bring to light other key community issues, concerns and ideas for improvements for the future of Clinton.”

The 2035 Comprehensive Plan is nothing new, having been discussed for months, but now there is tangible documents that can be perused as well as public participation pieces — apart from meetings — that Rose and others want to let people know about so as to get the optimum amount of feedback.

At the 2035 Comprehensive Plan website,, those interested can find constant updates about CPAC meetings and recently a questionnaire was posted that will provide the committee with “a great deal of useful information from citizens” as the committee moves forward with plan development.

“The committee is currently reviewing drafts of Sections 1 through 3 of the comprehensive plan as well as encouraging citizens to take our comprehensive plan questionnaire online on the home page of the website,” said Rose.

The questionnaire asks residents what they believe are Clinton’s top assets, top liabilities, their favorite and least favorite places in Clinton. Additionally, the survey inquires as to what residents believe are the most important issues facing Clinton, what is key to economic growth and stability for the city and asks they rank numerous issues on their perceived importance in achieving that growth.

“We are very interested in what the citizens of Clinton have to say about our community by way of this questionnaire,” said Rose.

The CPAC will supervise the preparation of the draft Comprehensive Plan for presentation to the Clinton City Council. Leading up to the presentation, the group will conduct approximately 10 work sessions — all advertised and open to the public — to prepare the draft Comprehensive Plan, expected to be the subject of a public hearing and subsequent Council adoption in late 2014.

Portions of that draft plan are already up for public view. Those sections, Sections 1-3, are the preface, introduction, community history and “Clinton: Today’s Profile,” with census, income and housing data.

“We are just completing the research and analysis piece of this plan and are moving into the plan format and development,” said Rose.

The next CPAC meeting will be at noon., Jan. 22, in the City Hall Auditorium. During the meeting, the committee will be going over Section 4 of the plan and ranking preliminary issues for the community.

The CPAC includes Dwight Horne, chairman and District 2 representative; Wanda Robinson, vice-chairwoman, and Sampson County Health director; Bill Scott, Chamber of Commerce and business representative; Elizabeth Stewart, Planning Board; Wanda Corbett, District 5 representative; Nettie Pernell, District 3 representative; Oscar Rodriguez, Sampson Community College; Steve Stefanovich, City Council and District 1 representative; Jay Tilley, Clinton Police chief; and Fred Dufour, District 4 representative.

“Our community has done well for many years without a true long-range plan, however it is recognized that broader consideration, analysis and community input will offer the city and its decision-makers more efficient and effective guidance for decisions which will be made for our community in the future,” Rose said. “Key areas and issues for study and consideration will involve land use, transportation, services, infrastructure and quality of life.”

Notices of all public meetings are advertised in The Sampson Independent, placed in the Clinton Town Hall and the J.C. Holliday Library and posted on the Clinton 2035 Plan website. A sign-up sheet will be available in the Clinton Town Hall so that citizens and interested groups can be notified of the meetings.

As the plan is drafted, a citizen review copy will also be available at City Hall, the J.C. Holliday Library, at all meetings,and posted on the Clinton 2035 Plan website under the “Draft Plan” tab. Copies of the draft plan may also be purchased from the Planning Department for the cost of copying.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at