Woodfin is taking the first step towards a comprehensive new planning process.

Woodfin takes the first step towards a new comprehensive plan two months after he was “egged in his face” for not having a similar plan in place and just a month before he is preparing to consider a new code of prescriptions.

The first step in developing this plan to “establish a unified vision, as well as goals and priorities intended to shape the city’s next 10 to 20 years,” is to form a steering committee, according to a statement on 26 October calling for volunteers.

Woodfin, a town of about 8,000 people, according to the US Census, is struggling with its growth, over 7% between 2010 and 2019. It has seen proposals for rapid development and development, including the controversial development of Bluffs seeking to build nearly 1,400 units on an 82-acre riverfront parcel near Richmond Hill Park.

City planner Adrienne Isenhower said Oct. 27 that the city is looking for 8 to 10 steering committee members who will help with citizen engagement and feedback on different topics in the plan representing different areas of the city.

That steering committee should be in place in November, with a first meeting scheduled for late November or early December, she said. A timeline for the overall plan process beyond that should be in place next August or September.

“Throughout the planning process, the community is invited to weigh in on important issues such as land use, transportation, utilities, infrastructure, parks and recreation, and cultural and natural resources. “, reads the press release. “The process will document the vision and identify strategies to achieve that vision.”

The city’s current comprehensive plan is an updated version of one drafted in 2008, which was adopted to comply with state laws known as Chapter 160D.

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Woodfin repealed and replaced its code of ordinances in May to comply with these regulations, but the decision was overturned since the city apparently considered, but did not adopt the comprehensive plan when it was taken up by Council commissioners in 2009.

Isenhower said the city is currently operating under its old code of ordinances, with the matter due to come back to the Board of Commissioners in November.

The board adopted the 115-page comprehensive plan at its Sept. 21 meeting in a unanimous vote in the absence of commissioners Debbie Giezentanner and Donald Hensley, a month after receiving the plan for review and recommendations.

According to the minutes of that meeting, attorney Sam Craig told the board that in his legal opinion, “the 2021 Global Plan distributed a month ago meets the legal requirements of the General Law 160D Global Plan of North Carolina”.

The Town of Woodfin had not had a comprehensive plan since 2008 before adopting an updated version of the one presented in 2009 at a September Council of Commissioners meeting.

Council then, by a 4-0 vote, unanimously approved both recommendations to change the plan developed by the city’s planning board and the plan itself, according to the minutes.

The statement said “Community engagement is the cornerstone of a successful comprehensive planning process, giving residents the opportunity to say, ‘This is who we are’, ‘This is what we want/need in our town,” “This is what I’m worried about,” and “This is what excites me about the future of Woodfin.”

Any city residents interested in participating in the steering committee can complete an application on the city’s website at www.woodfin-nc.gov and email it to [email protected]

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“City residents have the answers we need to thrive as a vibrant and welcoming community, Isenhower said in the statement. “We are actively seeking members who are passionate about Woodfin and its bright future.”

According to the city’s website, a future land use map will also be prepared as part of the overall plan, which “will guide zoning and other land use decisions in a manner consistent with the identified vision. described in the overall plan”.

Woodfin is also in the midst of an election cycle for three seats on its board of commissioners, and the city’s overall plan hurdles, as well as other land use and development issues, have been topics. burning at a recent candidates’ forum ahead of the Nov. 2 vote. .

Jim McAllister, Planning Council member and commissioner candidate, said: “The question is about the next 25 cliffs to come. … We need to flesh out this comprehensive land use plan, we need to have a slopes ordinance abrupt.”

Four of those hoping for board seats, including one incumbent, Giezentanner, fielded questions about the overall plan process, steep slope ordinances, tree canopy protection, and more.

One of those issues was code enforcement, as the city recently hired new planning and zoning administrator Penny Sams, who started with the city on Oct. 18.

Sams comes to Woodfin after six years as a zoning enforcement officer with the City of Asheville and says she has an address in Asheville, is on Woodfin Water and lives in about eight minutes from City Hall.

So far, she said she’s worked with a few townspeople on homes that don’t meet minimum occupancy standards and on campaign issues or other signs in rights-of-way.

Derek Lacey covers health care, growth and development for the Asheville Citizen Times. Reach him at [email protected] or 828-417-4842 and find him on Twitter @DerekAVL.

Louisa R. Loomis