Growth & Development Task Force
Growth has been an issue for the Town of Mount Airy, the region, and indeed the state for a number of years. Citizens have expressed a number of concerns with the pace of growth but also the ultimate vision of the town’s future, questioning how big and urban the town should grow into the future. Many believe the town should strive to increase commercial and industrial development rather than focus on residential construction. Many have concerns with the impact of additional growth on already strained resources and key items of infrastructure – such as roads. Ultimately many believe the town’s current master plan is out of sync with the desires of most citizens. The Mount Airy Growth and Development Task Force held their first meeting on Monday, October 9, 2006 and it was decided that they will meet on the second Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Airy Town Hall on Main Street.
The task force will be an advisory group for any town commission or the council, but primarily the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council. The task force will consist of at least 7 members, a chair, other officers (secretary) as needed, at least one town council liaison, and may request staffing and other support as needed. Regular reports will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council. Meetings will be open to the public, with agendas and minutes.
The task force would be an opportunity to review growth and development issues in general, obtain citizen input at an early stage, study current thinking on planning and zoning issues, and make recommendations to the town council and Planning and Zoning Commission regarding the master plan, development issues, zoning and subdivision changes, or other tasks as assigned. The main purpose will be to invite broad citizen and business input in developing a vision for future development of Mount Airy. To this end, the task force is intended to work with and through the Planning and Zoning Commission in making reports, investigating facts and recommending actions, as well as other town commissions, the Mayor and Town Council.
Specifically, the task force is asked to focus on:
- The community’s vision for Mount Airy’s future – including the vision for additional residential and commercial growth, and whether the current Master Plan reflects the community’s goals;
- The possibility of a citizen or community survey on growth and development issues;
- The pace of future growth that is reasonable, supportable and sustainable, whether growth caps should be strengthened or overall annual growth caps put in place – as well as how such caps would be implemented and how they would work in practice;
- The amount of future growth that can be accommodated given public infrastructure limitations;
- The desirability of negotiating with developers to ensure a more unique/less standard appearance for future development, reflecting Mount Airy’s individual character. The intent is to avoid rigid architectural regulations but requires development to reflect unique community character;
- Whether Mount Airy’s development standards should be adjusted, such as (but not limited to) regarding open space and parks requirements;
- The need and desirability for additional future commercial/industrial growth;
- The need to provide certainty and balance for residents when additional growth is approved, such as preserved open space areas to balance new development;
- The need for regional coordination with both Frederick and Carroll counties;
- Creating a long term community plan to achieve specific goals for parks, ball fields and other public infrastructure needs (in cooperation with existing town commissions);
- Creating a proposed process to ensure community input into these and other areas prior to an update of the current Master Plan;
- Other areas of concern as requested or as identified by the Task Force.
The Task Force is asked to report quarterly to the Town Council; meet at least monthly; keep minutes of meetings; and develop a website page ensuring the public is informed of its activities and allowing for public input. The current members of the task force are listed below.
Tony Falletta – Chairman