WAXHAW – The town is beginning work on a small area plan to help manage future growth. Monica Holmes, an associate with the Lawrence Group and the consultant working on the project, said now was the right time for a small area plan as the town has begun facing development pressure.
Holmes said she and her team are still finalizing the study area for the plan, but once that’s done, through a series of public meetings to gather public input, consultants will create a vision and come up with a concrete master plan to show what areas of downtown are best suited for open spaces, businesses, and infrastructure.
“The process is completely open to the public,” Holmes said. “A committee has been appointed by the town board that includes commission members, residents and business owners, to go through the process and be an additional resource for us.”
Holmes said because Waxhaw has an historic downtown area that’s facing development pressure, a small area plan is crucial.
“The benefit is creating a framework for reinvestment into the downtown that will keep it successful for the next 100 years,” she said. “They’ve already had some development pressure in downtown Waxhaw and have realized without a specific plan and consensus, there’s always going to be contention.”
Holmes explained a small area plan differs from a larger, comprehensive master plan because it allows the town to focus just on its downtown area.
“The small area plan will set out short, medium and long-term, very specific, projects that can be implemented there and what it can accomplish is all not just about land use, but also about transportation, and other important parts of downtown,” Holmes explained.
She said the plan also will identify properties that can be converted for new uses and identify properties that have a fixed-use, like a cemetery, strong businesses, historic homes and others. Holmes said one of the driving factors of the plan is the need for a new, larger town hall.
“Right now town hall is in a very small building and they’ve run out of space, so they’re looking at where’s an appropriate place to build a town hall,” Holmes said. “They’re growing very quickly and that’s something that’s made it more important to do this process. They’re running out of space and even running out of available land to build things, so right now it’s where the rubber meets the road, time to make decisions about what uses go where and the implications of that.”
Greg Mahar, Waxhaw’s director of planning and community development said he anticipates the small area plan to take about nine months to complete and cost the town about $70,000. To get public input on the plan, the town and consultants will host a public planning and design workshop, starting with a kick-off meeting Monday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Waxhaw Women’s Club downtown, followed by a public charette from Monday April 30 to Thursday, May 3, also at the Women’s Club. Public review sessions are Tuesday and Wednesday that week at 5:30 p.m.
A final presentation is set for Thursday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Waxhaw Women’s Club.
The full schedule for the charette is:
• Monday, April 30:
1 p.m. Transportation, Safety, and Circulation
2:30 p.m. Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Transit Planning
4 p.m. Open Space, Environmental Factors, and Parks and Greenways, including the Carolina Thread Trail
6:30 p.m. Opening Presentation
• Tuesday, May 1:
9 a.m. Downtown Merchants and Property Owners
10:30 p.m. Housing
1 p.m. Colleges, Institutions, Schools, and Churches
2:30 p.m. Economic Development
4 p.m. Regulations and Planning
5:30 p.m. Daily Pin-Up Session
• Wednesday, May 2:
9 a.m. Utilities and Infrastructure
10:30 a.m. Open Studio
5:30 p.m. Daily Pin-Up Session
• Thursday, May 3:
9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open Design Studio
6:30 p.m. closing presentation
For more information, contact Mahar at firstname.lastname@example.org, 704-843-2195, ext 232, or Holmes at email@example.com or 704-896-1696.