WAKE FOREST — Mayor Vivian Jones broke a deadlock and sided with two commissioners last week to adopt the Wake Forest Community Plan and Land Use Map, a 106-page document intended to guide development through 2040.
Jones backed efforts to add teeth to the comprehensive plan during the town board’s April 19 meeting, tweaking the language to change some recommendations to requirements.
“There were several places in the plan where the terminology used was ‘it’s recommended,” Jones said. “Talking to the planning department, I asked, ‘Shouldn’t we say it’s required instead?’ In a plan like this, I felt like it should be required, and Commissioner Shackleford brought it up in the meeting.”
Commissioners R. Keith Shackleford and Jim Dyer voted to adopt the plan with revisions, but Commissioners Adam Wright and Nick Sliwinski cast dissenting votes, with Wright asking to keep the community plan as previously written. Commissioner Chad Sary was absent, so Jones broke the tie to approve the revisions in a 3-2 vote.
“This was a plan we had been working on for a year and a half,” she said. “Looking at the future, this is a guiding document to help us realize what the community is looking for and there was a lot of input from community members.”
A 12-member steering committee developed the community plan with input from Wake Forest’s 10-member planning staff, the town Board of Commissioners, the planning board and officials from town departments.
“Over the past two decades, the town has experienced unprecedented growth reflective of the surrounding region, prompting new development that has been primarily residential,” the community plan states in an introduction to its purpose. “Today, residents enjoy attractive suburban living with access to nearby urban amenities. … The plan establishes a roadmap for how Wake Forest should develop and grow over the next 10 to 20 years to achieve its vision along with the critical steps necessary to do so.”
The document regulates land use for residential, commercial and industrial areas along with the downtown district and sets standards for housing affordability, residential character, senior homes, setbacks, parking lots, screening and buffering, utility lines, sidewalks, bikeways, greenways and trails, tree canopy, green space preservation and sustainable development.
To read a draft of the community plan last revised on March 2, visit the shortened link bit.ly/3xTDY9E.
The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners will convene for a work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 3. The next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for May 17.