Thursday, May 24, 2012
With an “extremely talented” Planning Commission and a city planner on staff, Collegedale Mayor John Turner doesn’t want to “dilly-dally” on creating a land use plan for the city any longer.
“I am confident that Kelly [Martin, Collegedale city planner] can get the job done, but I think it’s our responsibility to take the bull by the horns and get this thing done,” he said during a recent meeting of the Planning Commission. “We’ve talked about it and talked about it, but essentially we’ve wasted about a year or so.”
The commission agreed to spend an estimated 30 minutes on the plan at the next meeting to discuss its direction. Martin, who was hired last September, said he had hoped to begin getting community input for the plan earlier this winter but was delayed with other work and preparation for devising the plan.
“It’s been a matter of getting the office support in place,” he said. “To produce a lot of G.I.S. in-house has taken close to eight months to ramp up.”
Martin said he does not anticipate needing to work faster than expected but agreed that it is important to start the process as soon as possible.
“It’s especially important right now because of several things happening,” he said. “Apison Pike is being widened to five lanes and we’re expecting considerably increased traffic volume because of that. Volkswagen has also made a commitment to hire an additional 1,000 employees by the end of the year, and we’re beginning to feel the impact of that.”
Recent strategic annexing and potential future annexation are also in preparation for expected growth, Martin said.
“As far as I know the city plans to annex additional properties within the urban growth boundaries,” he said. “We want to close in some of the holes in the map and cover some of the properties we have identified as having growth potential.”
Apison Pike and Little Debbie Parkway have already been identified as expected commercial corridors and Martin said it is important to plan ahead of that growth to make sure the right land uses, transportation systems and public works infrastructure is in place before it arrives.
“Property tax assessment in Collegedale has risen from $91 million in 2000 to $226 million in 2010,” he said. “Collegedale is in a growth trajectory right now and has been for quite some time.”
The Collegedale Planning Commission meets the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 4910 Swinyar Drive.