A two-year process has begun that will ultimately see a comprehensive plan developed that addresses the future of Clinton and its needs in the areas of land use, transportation, infrastructure and quality of life, so the city might have the blueprint to thrive through 2030 and beyond.
The Clinton 2030 Comprehensive Plan will serve as a road map providing guidance on where and how a community will grow and change over a given period of time, Clinton-Sampson planning director Mary Rose said. This plan will focus on the period of 2013-2030.
“I am very excited about this opportunity for our community,” Rose said. “The primary purpose of a comprehensive plan is to provide long term guidance to citizens, property owners and decision-makers on land use and other community issues such as where future development and re-development should occur.”
She gave a brief outline and timeline for the plan during a recent meeting with some of those decision-makers — Clinton City Council. The plan is in the infant stages of its development, and will be rolled out to the public at the upcoming district meetings and much more over the course of the next couple years.
“This is a two-year process that we would be undertaking.”
The long-range plan will fill a void. While the city has done well to make improvements and strides in infrastructure revitalization, it has done so with no real laid-out plan.
“The comprehensive planning process will invite community input and discussion which will also address and bring to light other key community issues, concerns and ideas for improvements for the future of Clinton,” said Rose. “Our community has done well for many years without a true long-range plan, however it is recognized that broader consideration, analysis and community input will offer the city and its decision-makers more efficient and effective guidance for decisions which will be made for our community in the future.”
Key areas and issues for study and consideration will involve land use, transportation, services, housing, infrastructure and quality of life.
An initial meeting was held last month involving a group of community partners, including representatives with Clinton City Schools, the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP in Clinton/Sampson County, Sampson Community College, Sampson Regional Medical Center and Sampson County government.
“Clinton 2030 was introduced to the group at that meeting. (They) expressed positive input and support for the plan,” said Rose. “As the plan develops, there will be more opportunities for community partners and citizens to provide input and become involved in the plans for Clinton 2030.”
That will include district meetings, to be held at 7 p.m. on selected nights through February and March.
Meetings will begin on Feb. 21 in District 1, at Beaman Street Fire Station, continuing on Feb. 28 in District 4, at the Bellamy Recreation Center; on March 12 in District 2, at the Beaman Street Fire Station; March 14 in District 5, at the Sampson Center; and wrapping up on March 21 with District 3, to be held in the City Hall Auditorium.
“These meetings will be used to briefly discuss Clinton 2030 with citizens and inform them of plans for additional opportunities for them to become involved in the process through focus groups and area committees,” said Rose.
“We’ll have a similar, shorter version of this presentation at our district meetings so we can start introducing it to our citizens,” city manager John Connet added.
There are a number of other plans that will also act to complement, and assist, the Clinton 2030 Comprehensive Plan, including ongoing plans such as the Clinton Pedestrian Plan, the Clinton Main Street Resource Team Report, the Sampson County Comprehensive Transportation Plan and the Clinton Bicycle Plan.
Council voted to move forward with the Bicycle Plan last week, having previously received a N.C. Department of Transportation Bicycle Grant to develop bicycle routes through the city.
The Planning Department subsequently requested proposals, recommended the hiring of Benchmark Consulting to complete the work. Connet recommended the city enter into a contract with Benchmark to complete the Bicycle Master Plan, a $27,500 project that will consist of a $22,500 grant and $5,000 in city funds. The Council approved.
2030 plan timeline
Rose said over the next month, through February, the city is expected to discuss branding. In February and March, at the district meetings, staff will introduce the public to Clinton 2030, before bringing a budget proposal for the plan to the City Council in March or April.
Analysis by staff and a consultant team will be done from May to August, with a community vision and goal setting (through which key issues will be identified) developed through focus groups from September 2013 to March 2014.
“This would be the portion of the process where the citizens would become more involved,” said Rose.
The Clinton 2030 Comprehensive Plan will be drafted between April-August 2014. It is hoped that the plan will be adopted and the implementation process can begin at the end of 2014.
“During the implementation process staff will develop the focus area committees and work with them to develop plans and strategies and tasks to move the implementation of this plan forward for our future,” said Rose.
Connet said Rose and her staff have done a good job over the past couple months in developing a schedule for the development of the plan. It will be a fluid process, the city manager said, with updates given to Council along the way.
“We will get started, but we will also be bringing back information as we go through the budget process about cost,” said Connet. “We’ll do a lot of the groundwork and really hit the ground running hard late spring and early summer.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.