Spencer working toward land-use plan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
SPENCER ó Results of a survey to be used to help determine a land-use plan for Spencer are on display at Town Hall.
The survey is part of information collected by Benchmark Services involving work toward a land-use plan for the town. The material in which the information is detailed is titled: “Land-use Plan, Draft Key Issues Report.”
Also on display at Town Hall are zoning and land-use maps related to the project. A cardboard box and slips of paper are included for anyone wishing to comment or make suggestions concerning any of the materials they’ve perused.
The material will be displayed through March 13.
“We’re hoping people will swing by and see the materials,” said Town Manager Larry Smith. “We’re hoping for feedback.”
Also, from 5 to 8 p.m. on March 13, residents are invited to stop by Town Hall and discuss with members of a land-use plan steering committee their thoughts concerning a land-use plan for the municipality.
That meeting will be one where residents can come and say what they’d like to say or ask what they’d like to ask and leave. It won’t be a set affair involving a presentation.
Smith referred to the event as a “town hall-type meeting.”
It’s all part of the work that Spencer officials have been involved in as they strive to complete the town’s first-ever land-use plan.
Following the March 13 meeting, members of the land-use plan steering committee are expected to draft a plan overview.
After that, they’ll meet with members of the Board of Aldermen to discuss their draft and refine it. If aldermen eventually approve the work and give it their blessing, it’ll become Spencer’s first land-use plan.
Smith said such a plan would give aldermen and other town officials something to work from when someone requests rezoning.
“It’s something that’s not in place now,” Smith said of a land-use plan. “We’ve just got zoning ordinances.”
Last April, members of the Board of Aldermen voted to contract with Benchmark to begin work on a land-use plan for the town. The contract signed with Benchmark is for $24,500.
As part of the company’s work, Benchmark asked town residents last fall to complete a survey pertaining to a number of issues.
According to the report on display at Town Hall, 100 residents responded to the survey. Seventy-five did so via the Internet while 25 completed the surveys in person.
The survey asked myriad questions, everything from how long residents had lived in town to whether they felt Spencer offered a substantial amount of land for commercial and industrial use.
According to those who completed the survey, the most important issue affecting the town is its lack of employment opportunities.
Among the issues on which the town needs to take immediate action, respondents said, are jobs, crime and housing.
A total of 98 percent of survey respondents would like more commercial growth while 94 percent would like to see additional industrial growth.
The survey also asked for comments from respondents.
“Bring in some industry and jobs to Spencer instead of making the town like a fossil in a museum,” wrote one respondent.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.