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Last updated: March 19. 2014 11:55AM - 655 Views
By - iscarbrough@civitasmedia.com



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CONNECT Our Future held a forum and presentation last Tuesday based on feedback from previous events in Anson and across the 14-county region.


During previous events, survey data has been collected from different groups to find what citizens would like to see in both Anson and the greater region. This feedback was gathered and used to come up with different growth plans for the region. These plans were presented last Tuesday and encompassed a wide range of possibilities based on different ideals.


Four different plans with different goals were presented: to maintain suburban focus, to follow community plans, to grow cities, towns, centers and transit, or to focus on regional transportation. Each of these growth plans is explained in more detail on the survey, but all four were developed from community input at prior events and represent different visions.


The first plans maintains a suburban focus. “This growth option places most new housing and jobs in large subdivisions or employment centers located outside existing cities and towns, on farmland or open space,” the description on the survey read. “Most people need cars to get from their houses to jobs, shopping or recreation.” This follows the region’s current development.


The second plans is to follow locally-adopted community plans. “This growth option places most new housing and jobs within existing cities and towns, with many parts of the region continuing suburban or rural growth,” the survey said. “Limited transit is available in urban areas, while people in the rest of the region will rely on cars to meet travel needs.”


The third option is to focus on growing communities and new activity centers. “This growth option places the most growth in existing communities, with more areas where people can walk, bike, or use transit for daily trips,” according to the survey. “People can still choose from urban, suburban, and rural living. People have options to use transit from the urban area to other towns, and have more local bus service.”


The fourth option is to focus on regional transportation connections. “This growth option focuses on public desire to have more regional transit and transportation connections, with new growth centers,” the survey said. “People can walk, bike, or take local buses to jobs, housing, shopping, in the centers. They can also choose rural or suburban living, and rely on their own cars, as well.”


Citizens were given the chance to take the survey at the forum last week but also have the opportunity to take it online until April 15. Participants will be asked to choose their top five priorities from topics including supporting local farms, improving water or air quality, adding more housing options and more. After selecting and prioritizing these foci, the four growth options will be presented and each has a graph showing how well the plan matches the individual’s priorities.


“None of these are ideal,” said Rebecca Yarbrough with Centralina COG. “It will be different from county to county. But the more information we collect to see what they like/don’t like, the more it will reflect what people want to do… We want to get to a plan that everyone likes, but none of these is perfect, so we want to keep working on them.”


Final results will be shown around mid-summer. CONNECT Our Future is a Sustainable Communities initiative funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For more information, contact project manager Sushil Nepal with the Centraline Council of Governments at snepal@centralina.org or 704-372-2416 visit www.connectourfuture.org.


To participate in the survey and give your feedback on the region’s ideal growth plan, visit www.connectourfuture.metroquest.com.


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