Planning taking longer, costing more

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DAYTON -- Planning for future growth and its impacts upon local infrastructure is proving to be a time-consuming endeavor for the 13-member Master Plan Advisory Committee.

The group comprised of Dayton, Mound House and Silver City residents along with representatives of area developers has been meeting with engineers since 2000. The panel was established to oversee the planning consultant's efforts at reviewing and updating the county's existing Master Plan, adopted in 1990. The project originally was projected to be completed by April 2001.

Aside from taking longer than expected, the undertaking may also cost the county more than FPE Engineering's $25,000 contract calls for. FPE is requesting an additional $7,500 to cover work completed above the original contract, plus $3,500 for additional mapping and public hearings.

County Comptroller Rita Evasovic said county commissioners will have to approve the request.

Consultant Vice President and Principal Planner Greg Evangelatos said his original proposal called for approximately 12 meetings and four public hearings, but more than 30 meetings have already been held and six or seven public hearings will probably be scheduled.

The panel expected the Jan. 23 meeting with Evangelatos to be the final one prior to scheduling public hearings. However, presented with what was the fifth or sixth revised land-use map, the committee determined to meet once more on Wednesday.

Committee Chairman Bill Miles said he is happy with what the committee has accomplished, noting the project needs to be finalized at some point. However, he was hesitant to move forward without seeing the amended maps.

"I am not comfortable whatsoever trying to take this to the public at this point. We should get this as cleaned up as we possibly can. We need to be as concise and in as much agreement as we can as a group before we go there, or there will be no end to the public hearings."

Community Development Director John Evasovic noted several areas of concern, including proposed locations of multi-family zoning and a lack of flexibility within the zoning designations, pointing out requests to build multi-family dwellings in the areas designated by the new master plan have recently been turned down by commissioners because of protests by residents.

"I hate to see us lock horns (with residents) over what is controversial already. What we do will never make everyone happy, but let's get the majority of the people taken care of."

Evangelatos has placed specific zoning designations on the map in place of the current use of "high-density," "medium density" or "low density" as residential designations. Evasovic said he has some concerns about the specific zoning, "I like to see flexibility go to the landowner. Let the map work for them instead of being a handicap."

Committee member, and Dayton property owner, Tom Minor agreed.

"If I were a developer and knew what I wanted to do, I would love this map. As somebody who doesn't have any idea what I want to do, I would like the options of the current master Plan," Minor said.

Evangelatos defended the use of specific zoning designations as a means of enabling planning for future infrastructure needs, stating the proposed plan would be a 50-year look into the future growth of the Highway 50 corridor. Building to the maps' designated zonings, he estimated the current population in the Dayton/Mound House corridor of approximately 10,000 could grow to around 35,000 by 2022 and 70,000 after 50 years at build out.

"Specificity (in zoning) does help us to zero in on a prudent range of what the cumulative intensity is here. When it comes to public facilities planning, we want to be fairly accurate. Public facility needs will vary according to the density of an area."

Following the meeting, Evasovic said he has prepared some changes for Evangelatos, including the elimination of a specific brothel zone and changing the specific multi-family housing designations to a more flexible, high-density zoning.

"I noticed some problems with the map, but nothing that can't be addressed," he said.

Committee member Paul Howard said he is ready for the public hearing process to begin and the Feb. 13 meeting should be the committee's last.

"What we have in front of us is a good cross section of what we've been able to accomplish in two years. Any more (meetings) than this is beating a dead horse," he said.


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