BOS, SB, PC reviews county vision draft

One of the first things accomplished during the preparation of a plan as large as Chesterfield’s comprehensive plan is a vision statement. The vision guides the rest of the planning process.

On Wednesday this week, the vision, developed for Chesterfield through a number of community meetings, the county planning staff, a planning consultant and the comprehensive plan steering committee, is set be presented during a combined meeting of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, School Board and Planning Commission.

Vlad Gavrilovic, of the Renaissance Planning Group, expresses the importance of the vision portion of the comprehensive plan in a memorandum that accompanies the vision statement.

“The vision document is much more than just a vision of a desired future; it is also a description of ‘how we got here,’ foundational priorities and principles describing ‘what we want to accomplish,’ and next steps in the process described in ‘where we go from here,’” states Gavrilovic. “The document is the result of the ongoing work of the Steering Committee, the public open house this past July, and the series of public workshops held in each magisterial district during September and October.”

The vision spells out development concepts that should be carried forward into building the comprehensive plan. According to the draft vision, there should be an emphasis on revitalization; a focus on community centers rather than the sprawling development of the past; a mix of uses and densities in these centers and villages; encouraging alternative transportation connections, such as connecting places by greenways, walking and biking trails; lanes and paths and future transit alternatives should be provided. Within these community centers, the county should place its public facilities.

The vision also recognizes the interrelationship between economic development and housing and environmental objectives, as well as land development.

The idea of fiscal constraints is sprinkled throughout the vision statement, but not necessarily related to current economic stresses on the local budget.

“In crafting of the draft vision document, an eye on the long term future, beyond current economic factors was kept by the steering committee, community members and other stakeholders,” said Barbara Fassett, who is the comprehensive plan project manager. 

According to James J.L. “Jay” Stegmaier, Chesterfield’s county administrator, the three bodies convening to review the vision will not be asked to make a decision on the contents of the vision during the meeting. The process has hit the halfway point, he said  “Now that we are at the mid-point of the new comprehensive plan process, this vision will serve as the philosophical foundation for writing the full draft comprehensive plan,” Stegmaier said. “Throughout the spring and summer of 2010, staff, the consultants and the steering committee will work together on the core elements of this new comprehensive plan with a goal of having a completed draft for public review in the fall.”

The steering committee, which last met in January, will begin a new phase of meetings on the compensation plan on March 15 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lucy Corr Village meeting room.

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