New Market plan to include specific, tangible goals

NEW MARKET – The Planning Commission recommended that the Town Council approve the first four chapters of the updated comprehensive plan in a unanimous vote Monday.

Aside from updated statistics and a refreshed vision statement, the biggest change from the 2012 plan is the addition of implementation guides at the end of each chapter. These guides set specific, time-based strategies for accomplishing the town’s goals.

“That’s really what I’m most excited about,” said Alex Berryman, town planner, about the implementation guides. “I think it’s the future of planning, of comprehensive planning, versus our current form that has goals and strategies that are very hard to justify in terms of whether they’ve been accomplished.”

An example goal: to prepare for and adequately accommodate population growth, the town will annex surrounding properties as needed in the designated future growth area. This will be accomplished by data monitoring in the short term, build-out analysis in the mid-term, and exercising voluntary settlement agreements in the long-term.

The comprehensive plan serves as a road map for the town’s future between now and 2050. It guides land use, environmental impact, appreciation of the town’s history and handling population growth, among other issues.

According to the revised figures in the plan, New Market is slated for substantial growth. By the council’s most conservative estimate, the town’s population will nearly double by 2050. The more liberal estimate shows the town more than tripling in size.

Planning Commission member Sonny Mongold questioned why several neighboring lots in Shenandoah County seem to jut into town land.

“You see that little — thumb, I call it, there, which is Shenandoah County instead of the town of New Market? This don’t make good sense to me. And I’ve been asked by at least three different people as to why that’s like that,” Mongold said. “When you look at that map there, that just don’t look right to me.”

The commission members briefly discussed annexing the area. Planning commission chairman George Daugharty explained that all property owners living on the lots would have to agree, and it would be better to consider the issue at a later date.

“We would also have to get the county to agree to us annexing that. Since we do have an agreement with the county in place for actions like that, I don’t think that will be a problem,” Daugharty said. “I think your bigger problem will be individual property owners. And there might be three or four that might want to do it, but each would have to agree.”

Mayor Doug Bradley asked about when the town’s pocket park would be completed.

“Upon agreements from property owners, that will move very quickly,” Berryman said. “I predict this time we’re very much at a crossroads in which we need property owners’ permission. But it’s something that we’re working on still.”

“Very good,” Bradley said. “I think that would be a tremendous addition to our town. It will be a place where people could enjoy.”