After months of steering committee meetings, visioning workshops and stakeholder interviews, Waynesville’s Development Services Director Elizabeth Teague has been showcasing the results of that effort in a series of presentations of a proposed land use map.
“This is the kind of thing that will be done when it’s done,” Teague told a packed room at the Waynesville Recreation Center on Vance Street, noting that she hoped for a “finalized draft” by mid-May. After that, and further public information sessions, the plan will have to be approved by the Waynesville Board of Aldermen after it passes the town’s planning board.
Among the attendees were several members of Waynesville’s planning board, including Ginger Hain, Anthony Sutton and Danny Wingate, as well as Mark Clasby on behalf of the county’s Affordable Housing task force, and downtown business owner and Realtor John Keith.
But a contingent from the Bethel Rural Community Organization showed up expressing significant concerns after reading that the plan would affect their rural community, located far from Waynesville’s town limits. Once they were informed that they were misled, the focus of the meeting turned to the proposed map and what it spells out for Waynesville’s next 20 years.
That shows expansion of the town’s urban services boundary in three major areas, giving clues to how and where town growth might be expected or encouraged over that period of time.
The first is around Lake Junaluska, north and east of the lake itself. Currently, the boundary includes areas northwest of the lake, and east of the lake proceeding north along N.C. 209, but not directly north of it; the proposed boundary now completely encircles the lake.
The second is a major new lobe southwest of town; currently, the town’s urban services boundary runs southward along the west side of town until it hits Old Balsam Road, from whence it turns east.
Under the proposed plan, it would instead jog west for about 2 miles, following the great Smoky Mountain Expressway to the vicinity of Balsam Ridge Road.
The final major change shrinks the town’s urban services boundary on the south end of town; right now, that boundary flows eastward up toward Lickstone Road, but the proposed map shows that tightening up a bit to basically follow Allens Creek toward a southern terminus near Rocky Branch Road.
The changes are important, as the urban services boundary defines where the town will consider providing services like water and sewer.
The Lake Junaluska addition and the westward jaunt along the expressway are both outside of town limits, and outside the town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.
However, when customers not already within town limits request services like sewer and water, they must also voluntarily petition for annexation from the town. That means if successful, those customers’ parcels would become forever part of the town, thus paying property taxes to the town instead of Haywood County.
For those who wish to learn more about the proposed plan — or provide some input of their own — there’s still one more presentation of the proposed plan scheduled from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, 112 Virginia Avenue, in Hazelwood.
That’s won’t be the last opportunity for the public to weigh in, but as Teague’s timeline for the plan’s adoption gets closer and closer, it’s not wise to wait much longer.
For more information on the Waynesville Comprehensive plan and the process being used to create it, visit the Town of Waynesville’s website at www.waynesvillenc.gov/comprehensive-plan-update or call Development Services at 828.456.8647.