By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Strasburg officials set out this week to put the town's updated Community Plan into action.
The first step of implementing Strasburg's updated Community Plan begins with the hiring of a consultant to help the town update its zoning and subdivision ordinances. Town Council on Tuesday approved the Community Plan and then voted to authorize Town Manager Judson Rex to advertise a request for proposal for consulting services. Council held numerous meetings and work sessions as well as the public hearing on the required update to the plan, which looks out several decades.
"We kinda did a one-two punch there and are getting ready to go through and update the ordinances now," Rex said. "Most of the recommendations in the Community Plan kind of hint at the regulations that should be either modified or created to incorporate the vision of the community plan, so that's the next thing we're going to tackle."
A consultant likely could cost $60,000 to $80,000, according to Rex. The town would cover the cost in part through savings achieved by not filling the assistant town manager position, which became vacant earlier this summer, Rex noted. Strasburg would not need to dip into the reserves to pay for the consultant, according to Rex.
Implementation of the plan also depends much upon developers and the economy.
"When the market demands a certain land use, then the developer will come in and either purchase property or already has property to develop to meet that demand, and that's kinda really how the town grows," Rex said. "The developer comes in and builds the infrastructure and fills that demand either for residential or commercial or industrial, be it whatever the land use is. It is development driven."
Strasburg officials updated the Community Plan about six years ago. But the town last updated the core of its zoning ordinance in 1996, Rex noted. The core of Strasburg's subdivision ordinance was last updated in 1980. Council has made adjustments and amendments to both ordinances in the meantime. For instance, Council approved an amendment Tuesday to the zoning ordinance which regulates the parking of recreational vehicles on private residential property.
"They really go hand in hand with development," Rex said.
The consultant will address the ordinances in their entirety.
"It's really to put our ordinances in line with the community plan so that when a developer comes and proposes development or growth that we say 'yes, you can come to Strasburg and develop this community and develop a new development or a new subdivision, however here's the rules that you have to work within so we can maintain the character of our town' and the growth happens with the public's best interest in mind," Rex said. "So it really just lays out the rules for how development will happen."
In addition to the ordinances and goals set forth in the plan, the document includes a future land use map which pinpoints areas of specific kinds of growth in the town. The map also highlights areas the town would not want to see development such as land reserved for open space and parks.