A map of the northeast quadrant of Randolph County with colors to denote growth management areas. -Randolph County
ASHEBORO — A draft of the proposed Northeast Randolph County Growth Management Plan was presented Aug. 31 during a joint meeting of the County Commissioners and the Planning Board.
With the development of the Toyota Battery Plant near Liberty and Wolfspeed microchip just inside the Chatham County line, the commissioners had asked for an update to the 2009 Growth Management Plan with the initial focus on the northeast quadrant of the county. For technical assistance, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) was asked to lead the process while a steering committee has been meeting regularly to formulate the plan.
As County Manager Hal Johnson said, “The foundation of Randolph County’s updated Growth Management Plan is to recognize that sustainable economic growth, environmental protection and rural quality of life can be pursued together as mutually supporting growth management and public policy goals. One does not necessarily exclude the other.”
According to the draft proposal, the objectives of the Northeast Randolph County Growth Management Plan are: to encourage quality and sustainable growth; to guide citizens, developers, elected officials, boards and staff as evaluations and decisions are made on rezoning and growth-related issues; to recognize that sustainable economic growth, environmental protection and rural quality of life can be pursued together as mutually supporting public policy goals; and to provide guidance on future investments for projects and community improvements.
Jesse Day, planning director for PTRC, said the steering committee has met seven times since January to review data and policy areas, crafted new recommendations and identified issues. There have been two public meetings for input and feedback from citizens in the area.
The growth management area map divides the land into municipal areas, primary growth areas, secondary growth areas and rural growth areas. Day said that a future growth scenario helps planners understand development potential, land use, transportation and conservation. Planners can also visualize existing developmental land and where future homes and jobs might go. Finally, they can compare future scenarios of achieving different land use goals.
The plan looks forward to the year 2040 for population projections for the northeast quadrant. PTRC projects growth in the area of 7,418, from the current 55,917 to 63,065. Housing units are estimated to increase from 29,486 to 37,440.
With Toyota planning to add some 2,100 jobs, Technimark adding 220 and Kraftsman another 20 jobs, it’s known that there are 2,340 new jobs planned in the area. A study by Lightcast Labor Market Database determined a total of 4,062 jobs would come to the area including the planned jobs plus induced jobs. With those numbers, it’s projected that the quadrant will need to accommodate some 7,954 jobs.
Planning for all those new jobs plus homes for the workers and their families necessitates planning the growth. Factors in determining where the growth should be include build-out potential, land suitability, and allocation of housing units and jobs.
Policies and recommendations in the draft plan are based on agricultural and farmland preservation; residential development; commercial, office and institutional development; industrial development; economic growth; transportation and recreation; public infrastructure; and environmental and water quality.
After the presentation, with comments and questions from the board members, Johnson said that the growth plan recognizes that change is coming, but that development should be compatible to the rural community. When approved, the plan will guide the Planning Board and the commissioners in making growth decisions.
Tonya Caddle, the new planning director for the county, said the next step is implementation of the plan. In the meantime, there will be formal public hearings to receive comments from residents.
“We want to make sure we understand where we want go go,” said Caddle. “These are living documents. We’ll come back with updates and modifications. This is a long-term plan.”