Connect Our Future is seeking more public input as it develops a regional plan to help local governments manage an expected influx of 1.8 million people and 860,000 jobs over the next 40 years.
The group – representing 54 governments in the Charlotte region, including those in York, Chester and Lancaster counties – is seeking comment on four potential growth strategies and 10 factors that affect those strategies.
The factors residents have identified as important to guiding growth are:
“We know growth won’t exactly happen as it’s seen on paper, but this is to help policymakers make better decisions,” said Cole McKinney, regional initiatives and technology director of the Catawba Regional Council of Governments.
The Connect Our Future initiative is a partnership between the Catawba Regional Council of Governments – representing York, Chester, Lancaster and Union counties – and 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 growth. The partners raised an additional $3 million in public and private money for the project.
Four growth-strategy maps and the list of factors affecting growth were developed from numerous public meetings. More than 5,000 people have offered opinions so far in the process.
The maps reflect the group’s projection of growth:
The maps are not neighborhood specific, McKinney said. Connect Our Futures wants people to look at the maps broadly.
A series of meetings is scheduled to gather more comments from residents. The goal is to identify one preferred map and five top factors affecting growth.
After those meetings, the plan will be presented to local governments.