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Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan: Next Steps

By Staff | Jun 20, 2014

Jefferson County’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan, “Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan”, is moving into the final phase of Plan creation and adoption. The two-year process, initiated in the fall of 2012, has been spear headed by a County Commission appointed, 15-member Steering Committee, who have overseen the finalization of existing conditions data collection and mapping (to be published separately); the public input into the issues analysis and visioning phase; the development of the Goals and Objectives, as well as the Plan Recommendations and Implementation Strategies. At the June 10, 2014 Planning Commission meeting, the Steering Committee transmitted their final recommended draft to the Planning Commission for the beginning of the Plan Adoption phase of the process. On June 11, 2014, this draft of the Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan was posted to the Planning Department’s webpage and the Envision Jefferson 2035 webpage for public information (www.envisionjefferson2035.com).

A Comprehensive Plan allows communities to assess existing conditions, establish goals and objectives, and vision related to the direction toward which the community wishes to strive in the coming years, and identify a series of recommendations to implement the vision. Over the last 18 months, the Steering Committee has worked closely with County Staff in the creation of the Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan. There was an extensive public outreach process, consisting of three rounds of public workshops and two separate rounds of open houses held throughout the County. In addition, the public was invited to provide their input related to potential goals, objectives, and plan recommendations via two online surveys and through a survey distributed to county residents attending the 2013 Jefferson County Fair.

Based on this input and working closely with staff, the Steering Committee, through a consensus process that took into account a multitude of viewpoints, created a series of goals, objectives, and recommendations that would help guide planning and development decisions in Jefferson County over the next 20 years. In addition, the Envision Jefferson 2035 planning process resulted in the County’s first Future Land Use Map that provides a visual depiction of areas where future development should be focused on over the next two decades. More specifically, the Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan calls for focusing development and community investment within the existing municipalities, villages, and Urban Growth Boundaries, as well as within several identified Preferred Growth Areas. The Plan also identifies a variety of recommendations to improve the County’s rural economy, the overall economic development of the County, transportation network, and parks and recreational facilities.

The next step to move the Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan toward adoption will be a workshop for the Planning Commission to be fully briefed on the recommendations of the Envision Jefferson 2035 Plan by the Steering Committee. This workshop will be held on June 24, 2014. This workshop is intended to allow a dialog between the Planning Commission, the Steering Committee, and the staff. The public is welcome to attend but no public comment will be taken at that time.

Following this workshop, the public is invited to provide written or verbal comments at Public Hearing as required by state law. This Hearing will be held on July 22, 2014 at 7 p.m. in the Old Charles Town Library lower level Community Room. Following the Public Hearing, the Planning Commission may make revisions based on their consideration of public input received at the hearing. The Planning Commission’s recommendation will then be forwarded to the County Commission as a red-lined version of this draft. The Planning Commission intends to forward their recommendation to the County Commission in early September.

The County Commission will then be required to hold a workshop with the Planning Commission to review the recommendations at the first meeting after the Plan is received (tentatively set for 09/25/14) and then to hold a Public Hearing (requiring 15 days’ notice) to receive additional public input (tentatively set for 10/23/14). The County Commission is required to take action to either adopt, reject or amend the Comprehensive Plan within 90 days of receiving the Plan. Rejection or amendment requires referring the Plan back to the Planning Commission with a written statement of the reasons for the action. As the last Plan was adopted in 2004, the goal is to approve this Plan in 2014 to meet the required state law time frame.

For more information about Envision Jefferson 2035, please go to the project’s website (www.envisionjefferson2035.com) or feel free to contact the project staff either by e-mail at envisionjefferson2035@jeffersoncountywv.org or by calling the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Department office at (304) 728-3228. We look forward to your assistance in helping to envision Jefferson County.