Land use focus of latest regional planning initiative

dworthington@heraldonline.comOctober 4, 2013 

  • Want to attend?

    Upcoming Connect Our Future meetings. The morning session starts at 9 a.m., the afternoon session at 1 p.m. and the evening session at 6:30 p.m. Each sessions is about two hours.

    Oct. 1 – Chester County, Gateway Conference Center in Richburg, 3202 Commerce Drive

    Oct 3 – Lancaster, University of South Carolina-Lancaster 476 Hubbard Drive

    Oct. 10 – York County, Manchester Meadows complex, 337 East Mt. Gallant Road.

Planning by choice?

Planning by chance?

Those are the questions the Connect Our Future initiative hopes to answer with a series of upcoming meetings in York, Chester, Lancaster and 11 other counties in the Charlotte region.

Connect Our Future wants residents to tell them how they want land in their county used for the next 40 years. The results of the Connect Our Future initiative – and a preferred regional strategy – will be given to regional governments and cities as a tool for future development and to show them the people’s vision.

What residents want to see developed and what they want to see retained are “keys to the character of our community,” said Cole McKinney of the Catawba Regional Council of Governments.

The Catawba Regional Council of Governments – representing York, Chester, Lancaster and Union counties – is working with the Centralina Council of Governments, which represents 10 North Carolina counties.

The two councils secured a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a regional plan for future growth. The plan is a recommendation for growth, but not a mandate, said Randy Emler, executive director of the Catawba Council of Governments.

“This is how things could develop,” he said.

Imler and McKinney said the intent of these meetings is to land in general and not specific properties.

Earlier this year Connect Our Future held a series of public meeting in each county, asking residents what is important to them.

Among the questions asked was what are the most important features for the future of their county and the region.

Community parks and greenways were the top answer from residents of York and Lancaster counties while Chester residents said state parks, forests and preserving land.

Education was also frequently mentioned by residents of all three counties.

For the entire 14-county region, community parks and greenways and education were the top two answers when looking forward.

Each county will hold meetings for the second phase of the project which focuses on land use. Morning, afternoon and evening sessions are planned for each county. Connect Our Future asked residents to preregister for the session specific to their county at www/ConnectOurFuture.org

At each workshop residents will be assigned in groups of 10 to discuss future land use, focusing on questions such as where people will live, work, play and how to protect natural and physical resources.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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