New Hanover County’s Comprehensive Plan is moving forward. After four months of work, the citizen-led theme committees completed their recommendations.
161 community volunteers developed draft policies and action steps to address six areas: the Livable Built Environment, Harmony with Nature, Resilient Economy, Interwoven Equity, Healthy Community, and Responsible Regionalism. The theme committees have now passed the torch to the smaller citizen advisory committee, which is composed of six New Hanover County Board of Commissioners appointees and six representatives from the original theme committees. The citizen advisory committee will be aided by a city consulting firm, Renaissance Planning Group. Kate Ange, a principal for Renaissance Planning, says New Hanover County will have to develop policies to shape the buildable environment in order to achieve the stated goals they've laid out. Ange says she’ll facilitate the committee’s consensus:
"This policy framework and alternatives future is meant to help you all take these aspirations that you’ve put out there, all of the action strategies, and start putting them on the map. Hopefully that will lead us to a set of land-use policies and ultimately a land-use plan that can guide development over the next twenty to thirty years."
The draft policies will be refined into specific policy proposals by the citizen advisory committee, whose three meetings will be open to the public. In August, they will meet to review all theme group recommendations. In September, they will identify potential conflicts. And in October, they will determine recommended policies. The long-term plan will be completed by next summer.