There’s a new update on what planning for 2035 in James City County could look like.
During a James City County Board of Supervisors work session Tuesday, members of the board and the planning commission learned about the work items associated with the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
“This is not an ordinary Comprehensive Plan, this a more sophisticated data-guided approach,” said Vlad Gavrilovic, principal and project manager for EPR, which is one of the firms working as part of a consulting team for the county.
The county’s Comprehensive Plan is a document that guides future development, policies and public services over the next 10 to 20 years, according to the county’s website. The current Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2015.
Since that time, the county has started preparing the planning process, which will begin with a Community Participation Team, which was formed this summer. The team is comprised of four commissioners and six community leaders. Its purpose is to encourage, facilitate and report resident participation as part of a robust, overall community engagement effort, said Tammy Rosario, principal planner for James City County.
“This review will feature a greater level of facilitation, [and] expanded opportunities for input and a greater range of experiences,” she said.
This is just the first of a five-part planning process which is expected to be completed by the fall of 2021.
Additionally, there will be a Planning Commission work group comprised of the seven commission members and a resident member to perform technical review plan elements, plans, goals and actions. Rosario said that will help continue the vision established in past comprehensive plans and in the approved plan from 2015.
“It is a scientific and sophisticated process but also one that is really built on the cornerstone of the legacy of good planning that the county has done,” Gavrilovic said. “[We] want to continue that legacy but look at the forces of change. This is a pivotal time for a lot of communities and the county I’m sure included..the uncertainty of future changes be they economic or state, global changes even.”
This summer is the “laying the foundation” phase of the planning process, according to a presentation from the county. This includes an analysis of existing conditions, first Community Participation Team meetings and a website launch.
Following those steps will be the scenario and model building phase, which will begin in the fall and winter of 2019.
Gavrilovic said scenario planning look at alternative futures for the county, specifically what should happen and what could happen.
“It’s a way of looking at this cloud of uncertainty,” he said. “And not only seeing how we might respond to these potential consequences to the future, but how we can benefit and capitalize from it.”
The process of scenario planning is to organize the potential future outcomes into alternate land use scenarios, test those scenarios to see how they fit in with the county’s goals, select the preferred future land use framework and then take all of that information and compile it into the Comprehensive Plan.
“It’s essentially a more scientific and objective crystal ball to look at what…might be in store for the future,” he said.
The county is just in the first phase of the planning process, but it is expected to take a two-year time period of data collection and community involvement before an updated Comprehensive Plan can be built.
For more information, visit James City County online.