Wesley Chapel outlines future plans, village improvements
For years, Wesley Chapel’s motto has been “a great place to live and raise a family.”
Over the weekend of March 9 to 10, leaders and citizens alike met for a total of approximately eight hours to discuss what could be done in 2012 to uphold that motto.
Each year, the village council, committee members and citizens meet for an “advance” over the course of a Friday and Saturday to discuss their vision for future plans, changes and improvements that will continue to make Wesley Chapel an ideal community.
Some of the visions for 2012 include reworking the village’s master plan, possibly taking a new direction for the Wesley Chapel Festival in the Park and reaching out to citizens through social media.
One of the key discussions focused on changing the village’s master plan to a “comprehensive plan.” According to town planner Joshua Langen, the current master plan tries to cover a larger scope than it should.
“Master plans are usually for things like Ballantyne,” Langen said. “They’re not for cities. The term ‘master plan’ is generally applied to a big mixed-use development. (Wesley Chapel’s) Master Plan is neither a master plan nor a comprehensive plan.”
Developed in 2007 from a citizen survey earlier that year, the Wesley Chapel Master plan is a long-term proposal mapping out the direction the residents of Wesley Chapel would like to see the village take. The master plan has worked to create a defined, commercial “downtown” with denser housing near the downtown and less dense housing further out.
A comprehensive plan would concentrate more specifically on a number of elements, such as population, economic development and land use, as well as outline goals, objectives and strategies for each of the elements.
Several council members, including Howard Brotton and Mayor Pro Tem Kim Ormiston, were vocal in their support for a comprehensive plan. Langen explained a comprehensive plan would be a lot of work and usually needs to be constructed by a team of individuals, which could be a committee or a hired group.
Mayor Brad Horvath asked Langen to bring a copy of a comprehensive plan so the council could examine it and decide if that is the direction it wants to take. “Once we’ve gotten the scope of what we’re talking about, then we may be (in support of) a committee,” Horvath said.
Another issue brought up was the annual Wesley Chapel Festival in the Park, which takes place every October. Council member Elaine Rosoff reported the village has lost four out of five members of the festival committee. The council also was uncertain of the festival’s location, due to construction that will be taking place during the fall in the shopping center.
It was suggested that the village look into partnering with Weddington. There was some confusion however, as Rosoff reported Weddington also lost its festival committee, which isn’t correct. Weddington’s Parks and Recreation Committee is in charge of the festival’s future and continues to look at options moving forward. “It’s worth a conversation,” Horvath said. “Information’s always good. I wouldn’t necessarily object to it.”
However, the council was also concerned with maintaining the community-oriented, family-friendly event the village is known for, with Rosoff pointing out Weddington served alcohol at its festival last year. “I really don’t think we should have alcohol,” she said.
To adapt to the ever-changing culture of technology-based communication, the council brought up the idea of reaching out to community members through social media.
Horvath and Ormiston, while not huge fans of social media, both voiced the need to use such technology to connect with citizens who may otherwise be unaware of the goings on in Wesley Chapel.
Although council members don’t want to concentrate heavily on social media outlets, it was suggested that a Wesley Chapel Facebook page be created, if for no other reason than to direct community members to the village website.
For more information on Wesley Chapel or its upcoming plans and events, visit www.wesleychapelnc.com.