The Wake Forest community has grown rapidly during the last 20 years. Expanded economic development has produced more businesses, more shopping facilities and more jobs. Economic growth has also attracted large numbers of new residents, and allowed others to stay in the community without ever leaving the area in search of work. Our downtown is seeing new life as investment flows into older, historic buildings.
Even so, as the town and region continue to change, new demands are being placed on our roads, utilities, parks and municipal services. As growth moves out into the countryside, resource issues are coming to the forefront, including sprawling development, open space losses, drainage issues, and environmental degradation. Your Town Board must make difficult decisions about how to manage growth and about how to allocate the Town’s resources to deal with these many growth-related issues. The Community Plan is intended to help guide those difficult decisions — about future development and redevelopment, and about priorities for Town government in response to the demands brought about by this constant change.
A Town Board-appointed Steering Committee made up of 11 interested citizens will guide the preparation of the Community Plan. Representatives of the Town Board and the Planning Board will also participate in the monthly meetings of the Committee. The Steering Committee will report directly to the Town Board. Other appointed boards will be invited to provide input to the Steering Committee as the plan is developed. The Steering Committee will receive technical support from the town staff, working in coordination with a professional planning consultant, Glenn R. Harbeck, AICP.
A critical part of plan development will be the involvement of property owners, residents, business owners, and other stakeholders in the community. The development of the Community Plan will start ‘from the ground up’; i.e., community involvement will be the foundation of the plan. Starting early in the process, and continuing throughout the development of the plan, the Steering Committee will host a series of town meetings. These meetings will begin with a community-wide visioning exercise and proceed from that base. Public input gleaned from these town meetings will be reviewed during committee work sessions over a period of many months. In general, the study process will proceed from the broad to the specific, and from objectives to actions. Public involvement will also include an “open house” near the end of the planning process in which the draft plan will be presented for public comment. Approval of the plan will conclude with a formal public hearing and adoption by the Board of Commissioners.