With some of the development taking place in Wayne the last few years, the time seemed appropriate to update the city’s long-range comprehensive plan.
The City of Wayne has had surveys available online the last several weeks, allowing local residents to answer questions about the community they live in and what direction they would like to see the city move in regard to a wide range of issues, from business development to residential needs.
Wayne’s city planner, Joel Hansen, told The Wayne Herald that the surveys are a joint effort between the city’s planning commission and Wayne Community Housing Development Corporation.
“We have had four surveys that are available online on the city’s webpage and have been advertising them, so people can give their input,” he said. “Later on in the process, we will have some town hall meetings advertised where citizens can look at the preliminary results of the studies, and we’ll also get input from a task force put together by the mayor to help guide us through the process.”
A lot has happened in Wayne since the last comprehensive study was done in 2006. Hansen said that most studies are done in 15-year cycles, but with some of the work that has taken place since the city’s last study was completed, the need to update it became more relevant.
“We have seen apartments springing up and some commercial development with Bomgaars moving to the west side of town,” he said. “A lot has been going on the last 10 years or so, so maybe it’s time to take a step back and make sure we’re on the right track as far as what the city wants to see happen. The growth needs to be sustainable, and we need to make sure we’re growing in the right direction. If we get everybody behind a goal and move in the same direction, it’s a lot easier than having no plan at all and growing in all sorts of directions.”
The comprehensive plan is a vision for how the community wants to see itself grow over a specific period of time. Everything from downtown development to residential and housing needs are considered in surveys that are available to the public, and from that information, the city can then take a look at what the needs are and what changes to city codes and zoning rules need to be made.
“The comprehensive plan is that vision, and (the city tries) to adopt the rules around that vision,” he said.
Input from the community has been good regarding the community surveys and workforce study surveys, Hansen said. A survey regarding student housing has had minimal response from the college community, and Hansen said there are plans to continue that survey for a couple more weeks to encourage Wayne State College students to weigh in on the plan.
“We had sent out an e-mail to the college regarding the student housing survey that was to be sent to students, and we’ve only received eight surveys back, so we need to do some checking to see if there was a glitch somewhere with the link,” Hansen said. “Otherwise, our consultant said the number we’ve received on the citizen and workforce housing surveys have been very good.”
The comprehensive plan comes as preliminary data on population trends shows a slight decline in Wayne’s population. The 2010 census showed 5,660 people residing in the community, and current estimates indicate about a 1.2 percent drop in population to about 5,589.
Projected population trends, however, show potential for an increase if an economic boost creates more jobs in the community. Census population estimates presented by Hanna:Keelan Associates of Lincoln indicate Wayne’s population 10 years from now could range from 5,643 to 5,874 residents.
A comprehensive plan will help the city better meet the needs of those residents who could be showing up in the coming years.
“It should really help the task force prioritize some things and get a good idea of what the rest of the community is thinking,” he said. “We’ll see what the needs are and we can sit down and come up with something that will be part of the comprehensive plan.”
Once that plan is completed and approved by the Wayne City Council, Hansen said it will be important for the city to begin acting on the results of that plan.
“The important thing is to not set that study on the shelf somewhere and let it gather dust the next 10-15 years,” he said. “We need to take a look at the document and see what we need to do to adopt that vision. We may need to update zoning codes or change the zoning map if we want to do things like update commercial use or do something either near (Wayne State College) campus or downtown.
The execution of the comprehensive study was approved by the Wayne City Council back in November, and Hansen hopes that a completed study will be available for the council’s consideration sometime early this fall. The task force will meet again on the study Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Wayne Fire Hall.
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