This Monday the County Commissioners are holding what may be the
final Public Hearing on the proposed Comprehensive Plan Update.
The hearing begins at 7:30 pm and will be held in the downstairs
courtroom at the County Courthouse in Hillsborough. At their regular
meeting on October 7, the Commissioners are expected to vote whether or
not to adopt the Plan.
Submitting written comments in advance of the August 25 Public Hearing and/or presenting your comments on the 25th might be your final chance to provide input on this important subject.
encourage OP readers to review at least the first two chapters (links
below) of the proposed Comprehensive Plan and judge for yourself if the
chapters clearly articulate how sustainability can be achieved in
Orange County over the next twenty years.
The first chapter states that “we need to act in a manner that will achieve a quality of life that is sustainable into the future”. In the second chapter
one reads that “growth and development within the county should occur
in a pattern, location, and density that is sustainable over the
long-term”. Since this Plan is intended to be in force until 2030 it’s
critical that it provides ample guidance on how “sustainability” and
“sustainable growth and development” can be achieved.
section entitled “Toward a Sustainable Future”, the first chapter lists
many “key ideas … that relate directly to the goal of achieving a
sustainable future.” Ideas are presented for all seven of the Plan’s
elements: Economic Development, Housing, Land Use, Natural &
Cultural Systems, Services & Facilities, Parks & Recreation,
and Transportation. As noted in the section’s conclusion, “these
initiatives reinforce each other. Taken together, “they form a platform
of sustainable practices upon which current and future generations of
Orange County residents can build productive lives.”
chapter presents eight planning principles endorsed by the County
Commissioners in 2004. As an affordable housing advocate, I am bothered
that none of the principles directly concerns “social equity”, which is
typically one of the three fundamental dimensions of sustainability
(the other two being environmental protection and economic vitality).
The second principle concerns sustainable growth and development.
Principles One and Seven address public- and private-sector economic
issues, respectively. The remaining five principles concern
preservation and conservation.
Do these chapters clearly articulate how sustainability can be achieved? I
encourage you to make your comments known to the County Commissioners
as soon as possible because County staff is recommending that the
Public Hearing be closed after Monday’s night meeting and the matter
immediately be referred to the Planning Board (in order for their
recommendations to be ready for the Commissioners’ anticipated October
7 vote). Written comments can be emailed to the County’s Comprehensive
Planning supervisor at CompPlanUpdate@co.orange.nc.us. For more information consider reviewing the August 25 Public Hearing Agenda, as well as the Agenda Item Abstracts for both the May 19 and August 25
Public Hearings. (warning: abstracts are large .pdf files). The
abstracts are particularly useful because they contain all the written
comments presented by members of the public going back to January 2008.
For the truly ambitious reader, links to all nine chapters of the
Comprehensive Plan can be found by clicking here.