Over the next two weeks, the Clinton 2035 Comprehensive Plan will be rolled out across the city so citizens can become more aware of what the document is all about and give their feedback on what it should contain.
In putting together a document that forecasts city planning and the Clinton landscape some 20 years from now, a key aspect to making the plan complete is gathering as much public input as can be given, officials said. To that end, meetings will be held in each of Clinton’s five districts in the coming weeks.
A comprehensive plan is a road map that provides guidance on where and how a community will grow and change over a given period of time. For Clinton, that period starts at 2014 and extends to 2035.
The intent of the project is to draft a plan that establishes a solid foundation for the ongoing planning program and guides short and long-range planning, zoning and development-related decisions within the Clinton planning area.
Five meetings have been set and a link to a Clinton district map, along with more information on the Comprehensive Plan, is available at clintonnc2035plan.net.
All meetings will take place on the designated date from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the following locations:
• District 1 - Tuesday, Sept. 16, at the Beaman Street Fire Station
• District 2 - Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Beaman Street Fire Station
• District 3 - Thursday, Sept. 11, at the City Hall Auditorium on Lisbon Street
• District 4 - Thursday, Sept. 4, at the Bellamy Recreation Center on Pierce Street
• District 5 - Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Sampson Recreation Center on Barden Street
As with many other decisions, the community can have a huge say in dictating a final product and what they see in and around their neighborhoods in the future. Dale Holland of Holland Consulting Planners and Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said they hope local residents use that voice.
“It is important to attend these Comprehensive Plan meetings so (residents’) concerns and thoughts are heard,” Rose said. “As staff, we are very interested in hearing from the citizens and understanding from them what they would like to see happening within their district today and in the future.”
Already well into the process of drafting the Comprehensive Plan, Holland noted that it contains a wealth of information gleaned from stakeholder interviews, Census statistics, demographic information and survey responses gauging local residents’ input on the gamut of issues.
With growth expected to come with the widening of N.C. 24 through Clinton, it is crucial that a well-informed planning roadmap be in place as the actual roadmap changes.
Holland has cited 2030 population estimates showing Sampson at the bottom of the table, at 7.2 percent anticipated growth, “with fairly astounding statistics scattered around Sampson County.” Among them Cumberland expects 14 percent growth, Harnett expects 40 percent, Johnston at 32 percent and Pender at 41 percent by that time.
“I believe that figure will prove to be way low,” Holland said of Sampson’s anticipated 7 percent growth. “There are too many things happening, too many regional connections, too good a regional location, too many assets in Clinton … I truly believe this growth will begin to spill over into Clinton and Sampson County.”
Among the questions on the survey, respondents are asked to gauge Clinton’s top assets, its liabilities, their favorite and least favorite place in the city and main issues facing Clinton’s future. The citizen survey is still up at the 2035 Comprehensive Plan website.
“We’re not closing the survey or taking it off the website until we get to the final draft of the plan,” Holland said.
He encouraged more participation in the surveys, as well as input at the upcoming meetings.
“The more people who participate, the better document we’re going to have,” Holland said. “We really hope we have a good turnout.”
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.