Public input is being sought throughout this month on a Sampson County Land Use Plan, the document utilized in making planning decisions that affect Sampson’s many residents. With the county growing, the document should likewise be updated as needed to accommodate the shifting landscape and plan for the future, local officials said.
To that end, the Sampson County Planning Board, Clinton-Sampson Planning Department and Sampson County Land Use Plan Steering Committee are in the process of developing an updated Sampson County Land Use Plan.
“The decisions made by our Planning Board are based on the guidelines as set forth in our current Land Use Plan to ensure consistency in our decision-making process,” Ann Naylor, chairperson for the Sampson County Planning Board. “As our county has developed and changed, so should our thought process on how we view future growth.”
Last summer, with approval of the Sampson County Board of Commissioners, staff with the Clinton-Sampson Planning Department began work on an in-house update to the land use plan. The in-house process, offered as part of the county’s ongoing cost-savings initiative, was anticipated to save the county as much as $50,000 compared with the price tag the would come with outsourcing the project, planning officials estimated.
“Public input is an important aspect of any plan and will help guide the development of the final plan and any recommended changes or additions,” stated Mary M. Rose, Clinton-Sampson Planning director.
The Land Use Plan Steering Committee is offering opportunities for public input at meetings in the northern, southern and central portions of the county. All three of those meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held on successive Thursdays in July.
Meetings are scheduled for Thursday, July 13, at Harrells Activity Center (EMS building), 891 Ward Road, Harrells; Thursday, July 20, at Clinton City Hall Auditorium, 221 Lisbon St., Clinton; and Thursday, July 27, at Spivey’s Corner Fire Department, 8200 Newton Grove Hwy, Dunn.
Sampson County adopted its first land use plan in 2001, with other plans, ordinances and countywide zoning to follow. In 1998, Sampson County adopted a Manufactured Home Park Ordinance, and followed in 1999 with the adoption of subdivision regulations. Countywide zoning was pursued and adopted in 2004.
Land use planning is a general term used for a branch of planning encompassing various disciplines that seek to provide some order to land use regulation in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land use conflicts between different types of land uses. Various jurisdictions, like Sampson County, use such planning to manage growth and development. The elements of a land use plan may include land use/growth and development, economic development, transportation, open space and recreation, community facilities/infrastructure, conservation of environmentally-sensitive areas, and hazard mitigation.
Many community members and existing county staff are participating in the land use initiative.
Along with Naylor, members of the community participating include current Sampson County Planning Board members Clayton Hollingsworth (vice-chair), Debra Bass, Sherri Smith, Nancy Blackman, Stephen Parker and Andrew Jackson, as well as former Planning Board members Gary Mac Herring and Gary Henry and Land Use Steering Committee appointees Freddie Butler, Tim Butler, Andy Darden and Gail Gainey.
Along with Rose, participating staff members include County manager Ed Causey, Emergency Management director Ronald Bass, Recreation director Dana Hall, Public Works director Lin Reynolds, Economic Development director John Swope, senior planner Lyle Moore and planner Jake Palant.
“We encourage the participation of friends and neighbors during this process. In updating our existing plan, we will strive to formulate and recommend policies that allow for long-term growth,” Naylor attested. “We will focus on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of our county and make projections for growth that will benefit the county as a whole.”
“Public participation is critical in helping to identify these components as we move forward,” she noted.
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