Weddington moves forward with land-use plan updates

WEDDINGTON – Leaders in Weddington are putting their heads together to update the town’s land-use plan by March 31.

Weddington has operated under the same land-use plan, which helps dictate town growth and where it can go, since 2002. With western Union County towns seeing such a population boom during the last decade, Weddington leaders say now is the time to update the plan and prepare for the future.

This past Thursday, Jan. 31, town council members met to discuss the current land-use plan, the recent land-use survey sent to Weddington residents and their ideas for the updated land-use plan. Council will vote to adopt the new land-use plan on April 8, a Friday.

Each council member was given a map to point out what areas of Weddington they’d like to see the town focus on.

“They said they wanted to get this map done; they feel like that map is going to drive any policy changes,” town manager Jordan Cook said.  “If they see any area where they see something then they will change their policies and goals.”

Some council members, like Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Barry, feel the town must first create a vision for the land-use plan before moving ahead with any changes or updates they make to the plan.

“The map should be a result of what our overall land-use philosophy is and the strategies we want to employ to protect what the community wants,” he said.  “… And then once we have consensus on the vision you create the map.”

Council member Werner Thomisser says he “totally agrees” with Barry.

While drafting the new plan, Barry says the land-use survey recently sent out to residents in Weddington will be incorporated as the council moves forward.

“It was clear in the survey that the folks want to preserve our character and green space, but we have to find out what that means and how to accomplish that,” he said. “… People moved to Weddington because they wanted the great schools, lower taxes and the rural character of the community.”

According to the survey, Barry has the right idea.  When asked what elements are important to Weddington, about 70 percent of the 637 residents who answered the question said maintaining the low tax rate should be a high priority.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said low taxes are what they “most appreciate” about living in Weddington.

About 61 percent said the preservation of open space was important and around 53 percent focused on sticking with low-density residential development.

Barry also thinks the preservation of green space is important to the character of Weddington.  “My desire is that we create a plan that allows for the preservation of green space through comprehensive land-use planning,” he said.

Cook says the survey will play a large roll in moving forward with the new land-use plan.  “I think we are going to take the existing land-use plan and the survey and kind of combine them together,” he said.

Town council will continue to meet every other Thursday at Weddington Town Hall from 4 to 6 p.m.  The first 30 minutes of every meeting will be open to public comment, something Barry says will be important as the council makes progress on the new plan.

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