Print County shares ideas for growth plan
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 00:00

Yavapai County is trying to take a proactive approach to managing future growth and development, said Elise Link, the county’s planning division manager.

Link went before the Camp Verde Town Council on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to tell the community how the county is moving forward with a comprehensive master plan focused on managing future growth and development.

The county first adopted its current plan in 2003, Link said, as was required by state law. It was the first update to any similar plan since 1975.

The plan is designed to help the county move forward into the future intelligently, especially when dealing with issues of land use, transportation, open space management and water resources.

Link said the plan was supposed to serve as an “official guide to decision making [that] provides a framework to policy making.”

Each plan is supposed to be updated every 10 years, Link said, but the state recently extended the time limit, giving the county until 2015 to update the plan, in part due to the current economic downtown.

Regardless, Link said the county wanted to go ahead and begin the plan renewal process to keep it relevant and in tune with the current laws and times.

“It’s important to be proactive to have a new plan in place,” Link said, citing the changes to laws which have been made since 2003, particularly those affecting property rights and land management.

The new plan will also be updated to reflect expected changes resulting from the recent 2010 census. While the full data from the census hasn’t yet been released, local leaders fully expect the county has more than 200,000 residents.

Link said the milestone triggers additional requirements of the master plan, including provisions which more specifically address the environment and energy costs in areas of growth.

The county is conducting the plan update with an in-house effort for the first time, Link said, instead of hiring a consulting firm.

Link said the county hopes this will give the new plan’s architects an opportunity to “really engage the public” and enhance relationships among different entities throughout the county.

The county hopes to receive a lot of public input about the plan, Link said.

County Planning Director Steve Mauk said the county would be holding several meetings throughout the region to invite residents to share their thoughts and ideas.

Link said no definitive schedule for the meetings had been set yet, but she expects the meetings to be held sometime around spring.

The county is also planning to put together a committee with the job of continually reviewing the plan and its scope once it is in place.

“We want to review it on a regular basis so it doesn’t just sit on a shelf,” Link said.

If all goes well, Link said the plan should be completed in 18 months.“This helps all of us when it comes to economic development,” Camp Verde Mayor Bob Burnside said.