WAXHAW – With projections showing Waxhaw’s population growing to 50,000 within the next 20 years, town leaders are planning now to handle that future growth and maintain the small-town vibe many residents prefer.
“Waxhaw is a rapidly growing community and we have a choice – we can plan now or police later – we have chosen to plan first,” Mayor Daune Gardner said.
Waxhaw recently approved the Downtown Waxhaw Vision Plan to kick off future planning. Gardner says town counsel needs to do more in depth work, but for now the plan lays out what development they would like to see in the historic downtown area.
One area the town needs to look further into is infrastructure such as water, sewer, gas and electric, the mayor said. For Gardner, these are things the town must develop to allow the ideas of the vision plan to come into fruition.
“What we ended up with was really good ideas and some good work, but it was missing some layers – some practical and physical layers that are very important for us as a governing body to understand,” she said.
While the town counsel talked to many residents and heard ideas from people living all throughout Waxhaw, they hope to hear more input as planning moves forward. One main concern residents have brought up with future development is continuing to keep the “friendly little town” atmosphere.
“The main message was overall scale and wanting everything to feel like a continuation of the main street,” Mayor Pro Tem Erin Kirkpatrick said.
Waxhaw purchased two parcels of land in the downtown area where they plan to develop a town plaza, town center and more parking. While the whole facility will be one building, they plan to make it look like the rest of the development downtown, Kirkpatrick said. A price or budget has not been set for the project.
Town council plans to have a budget set for the development within the next three months. Kirkpatrick says the building could cost anywhere from $14 to $18 million.
“Waxhaw has zero debt right now, we have approximately $6.7 million right now (on hand), and I’m a big proponent of not going into debt,” Kirkpatrick said. “I would like to see exactly how we are going to pay
for this now and over the length of it.”
The next area Waxhaw officials plan to look at is the section located east of downtown. Gardner says this is an area often left out of discussions, and while she does not know what will come from talking to people living and working there, having the conversation is what is important.
“Historically they just haven’t been paid attention to and we may have this conversation and discover that there is not a lot they really want or need,” Gardner said. “The point isn’t what comes out of the conversation. The point is to have the conversation.”
After looking into any plans for the area east of downtown, Waxhaw will develop small area plans for three more spots throughout town.
While the town council has heard comments from the public in all of their planning discussions so far, residents from Waxhaw are welcome to attend any planning board meetings or board of commissioners meetings.
The next planning board meeting has not been scheduled, but commission meetings are the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of the Waxhaws, 8215 Waxhaw Hwy.