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Carroll plans for future

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Community members will have many opportunities to be involved in the next comprehensive plan, Carroll officials discussed at their Nov. 16 meeting.

A comprehensive plan is designed to help localities plan for 20 years into the future, County Administrator Gary Larrowe explained. "Of course, you know the comp plan is one of the most important things that this board could ever accomplish."

While the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission has done plans for Carroll in the past, those plans look awfully similar to those Mount Rogers has done for other localities, Larrowe said. Plans in the past haven't been customized to the locality.

Part of that may have been due to few opportunities for citizens to provide input as part of the planning, he said. Citizen input has been "casually" offered in the past.

Assistant Administrator Ronald Newman said public participation is one of the features that he and Larrowe looked for when narrowing down the 11 planning firms that answered the request for proposals for a comp plan in July.

In phone conferences with the final two candidates, Newman said it became clear to him which one of those firm had the qualifications and expertise to meet the county's goals.

Public forums will play a large part of the comprehensive plan process, he said. As discussed with one of the candidate firms, this would involve having a planning kick-off meeting at Carroll County High School for the public.

The firm would then have several night meetings to put together background information for the process.

During the day, the planners would meet with focus groups like the Lion's Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, Rotary, agricultural businesses, county staff, teachers, students and more.

The input would be compiled and posted on the county Web site so people could review, and then a round of follow-up meetings would commence before the final draft is composed.

That final draft would get posted for community review before a public hearing is held by the board of supervisors and the planning commission.

Newman recommended hiring the firm of Chandler Planning and Planning Works for an amount not to exceed $130,000.

Supervisor Tom Littrell said he thought the company was an excellent choice, and he made a motion to approve the recommendation.

Supervisor Wes Hurst said he hoped to have good public response and that the supervisors would lead the way in getting all communities to participate.

The motion was approved unanimously.