By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
What is a comprehensive plan? According to the draft comprehensive plan for the Town of Davis, “A comprehensive plan is the foundation for future development, redevelopment, and conservation in a community. Without a plan in place, communities often struggle to make informed resource and land use decisions. The comprehensive plan for Davis will serve as a tool to enhance the quality of life of residents and to guide investments regarding the town’s future.
For each chapter, an existing conditions section will illustrate what has happened in the community in the past and what is occurring in the community today, so that the future trends may be determined. The following section will assess the needs within the community for the chapter’s theme. What are the strengths and opportunities? What are the challenges and threats? The last section in each chapter is an action plan that addresses the needs and that helps the community realize its vision.
The term comprehensive is used because the plan looks at all facets of a community: Infrastructure, transportation, housing, land use, economic development, parks and recreation, natural resources, and community services.
A comprehensive plan does not create laws or ordinances for the municipalities; it does not create any regulations. It is, instead, a tool that recommends action plans to achieve the plan’s goals.”
The comprehensive plan is broken down into seven chapters and three categories for each chapter. Each chapter includes past and status of the town, a needs assessment, and an action plan. Board member Jeanette Ware listed the seven chapters included in the plan as land use, housing, transportation, economic development, infrastructure, public services, and tourism.
At the next Town of Davis Planning Commission meeting the members will discuss the survey results that were sent out six weeks ago and input from the public meeting held in Davis.
After the members feel they have made all necessary changes to the document, they will send a draft copy to the Town of Davis Council for review. If the Davis Council sees the document is satisfactory the Council will then host a public meeting for further comments. A 90-day period for amendments follows before the Town Council either rejects or adopts the plan.
President of the Town of Davis Planning Commission Brian Sarfino summed his reasoning for being on the board as, “Growth is inevitable and desirable. But the structure of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how.”
Board member Samantha Gravelle explained that printed copies of the purposed comprehensive plan can be found in the Davis Town Hall office and on the Town of Davis website. Gravelle said, “We very much encourage you to open the document. Look at it. Because we really need everybody’s input and feedback to make sure we are planning for the future of our town.”
Pat Nichols was in attendance and said, “I do not see this as a Davis issue. I see it as a Mountain Top issue.” Nichols questioned whether the Davis Planning Commission had been working with the Thomas Planning Commission. Sarfino explained that both entities were working together until COVID-19 started in the area. Since then, Thomas has stopped working with Davis, but Davis has continued to work to complete their plan.
Unidentified members of the audience asked questions or expressed concerns to the Planning Commission. One person questioned if the plan would be put up for vote. The Commission explained that per state code the Comprehensive Plan was not allowed to be placed on a ballot for vote.
Another expressed concern about jobs in the area that were beyond tourism jobs. This audience speaker said, “People need jobs here. Not have to leave to get jobs. We have an industrial park with no industry. Bring good paying jobs back to the area.” The Commission explained this area of concern is mentioned in the economic development portion of the plan. Having manufacturing brought into the area to boost economic growth was a goal of the plan. Along with getting houses for workers.
The Town of Davis Planning Commission encourages the public to attend the next meeting on June 6 at the Davis Town Hall.