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Comprehensive plan adopted to guide future Waynesville growth
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Nov. 20, 2008) — After a year of public hearings, community surveys, and meetings with city committees and staff, members of the Waynesville Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday night to adopt a new comprehensive plan for the city and agreed to begin work on revising land use and zoning ordinances.

Comprehensive plans are intended to guide the future growth and development of a city. State law specified that they are adopted by planning and zoning commissions, not by city councils, but planning consultant Dan Lang of the Lang Gang has prepared a resolution for a future city council meeting to affirm the decision of the planning and zoning commission to adopt the plan.

Final adoption is expected in December.

Planning and Zoning Commission members said they were very pleased by the plan and wanted to see it distributed as widely as possible.

“If we get that in PDF format and put it on the city’s website that’s going to save a lot of time and money,” said Councilman Alan Clark, who serves as the city council’s representative on the commission.

That should help in providing easy access to the plan for real estate developers and anyone else who is interested, said City Administrator Bruce Harrill.

Planning and Zoning Commission member Joe Rapone sought to build on that.

“Can we require every developer who comes to us to like their plan to this? I think we should do this,” Rapone said. “Every good businessperson should understand that if they link to this, they’ll get a better reception here.”

Clark said the commission and council still retain flexibility to approve items the plan didn’t envision, but agreed that asking developers to clearly link their plans to those proposed by the city will help.

Lang, even though he guided the development of the plan, agreed.

“There will be times that developers approach the city and they want to do something different than you had planned, and that’s OK,” Lang said. “You need to make a commitment to use this plan for the growth of your community. If you do that, you will find many of your goals in this plan accomplished.”

Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Erv Morriss said things went much better this time than with previous plans for the city’s growth.

“We have not pushed it, we have not rushed it forward, we have done the things we need to do,” Morriss said. “It is the best plan we have had, and much better than the one that went before.”

Planning and Zoning Commission member Joe Petrich wanted more details.

“I was curious. You said this was the best plan we’ve ever had. How is this better than the previous plans?” Petrich said.

Morriss said the previous plans were not done with the same amount of effort and thoroughness.

“One of the things that has certainly been different in this process has been communication. The communication has been continuous,” Morriss said.

The next step will be revising the city’s land use regulations. Harrill asked whether planning and zoning commission members believe that would best be done in-house or by hiring a consultant.

“If we want to do this in-house, we’d probably need to take it a section at a time,” Harrill said, noting that the process of in-house review could include meetings with housing developers and other members of the community to learn how they’d like to see the regulations develop.

Morriss liked that idea, as long as outside consultants are involved.

“My feeling is generally on a fairly extensive thing like revising the land use regulations is to use a consultant,” Morriss said.

Petrich asked how much a consultant would cost; Harrill said it would probably be $15,000 to $20,000 and said there’s no money in the current budget for the fiscal year ending in March.

Moving slowly isn’t necessarily a problem, said planning and zoning commission member Tim Bartlett, who said the commission shouldn’t rush its work, and even if the board took several months to review the land use regulations, that would work well.

Clark said he supports a revision of the regulations but didn’t want to imply there are major problems.

“I can say that in looking at our current zoning and land use regulations, everything doesn’t need to be scrapped and redone,” Clark said. “I can think of a lot of things that probably aren’t regulated as well as they could be. I don’t want to be too bureaucratic and too restrictive, but we need to make sure we have the rules and regulations we need in place.”

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