|The Camp Verde Planning & Zoning Commission will be talking about many elements of the General Plan update in the course of several meetings beginning Thursday.|
CAMP VERDE - At 6 p.m. Thursday in Council chambers, the Camp Verde Planning and Zoning Commission will begin a series of work sessions to discuss the Town's General Plan.
The Town's General Plan, a 10-year plan, must be re-adopted, updated or completely re-worked by 2015. Camp Verde residents last ratified the General Plan on March 8, 2005.
Camp Verde's general plan consists of 10 elements: Land Use, Open Space & Recreation, Growth Area, Transportation & Circulation, Water Resources, Environmental Planning, Economic Development, Housing, Cost of Development, and History & Culture. The first work session will focus on the plan's Land Use element.
Camp Verde, approximately 42 square miles in size, has designated 15 different land uses in its Land Use element. Any amendments to the General Plan must be approved by the Town Council. Those amendments, based on specific criteria, are categorized as either major or minor. Though an unlimited amount of minor elements may take place within the scope of a General Plan, major amendments may occur once each year.
"It is important to have a variety of land uses to create a sustainable community," said Jenna Owens, Assistant Planner for the Town of Camp Verde. "A wise community's vision of its growth is beneficial to all citizens."
Community Development Director Mike Jenkins says the general public plays an important role in the plan, but that the public is one voice in the process.
"The public does not work with this on a daily basis," Jenkins said. "It is important for them to realize that they cannot be expected to understand the detailed workings of a general plan. This is an opportunity for them to get to understand the purpose and process of the general plan. And the Commission is going to realize from the beginning that there are no wrong questions."
The Town's vision of land use, as explained in the current General Plan, is that "Camp Verde will remain a community with a rural character. Land use within the Town and study area will be patterned in such a manner as to create a sustainable community while respecting the rural setting."
The idea of "sustainable community" will likely mean different things to different people. For some, it is a matter of not shrinking in size. For others, it means controlled growth. And to some, it means growth without concern for consequence.
"I've been watching Arizona all my life living here," Jenkins said. "Things seem to cycle. I believe we are at the place when we may see things go back up. They were [once] headed that way. Until the economic downturn, we had roughly 400-plus rooftops scheduled to be developed here. Shops that have closed down on Main Street the past six years would have probably stayed open."
In referencing the Simonton Ranch development that almost came to fruition, Jenkins said that the growth would not have compromised the Town's rural character.
"Rurally speaking, 1,500 new residents in Camp Verde are not that big of an impact," Jenkins said. "The next big thing is the Highway 260 corridor expansion that is currently being [planned]. With that expansion, and with the new access to the adjacent properties along 260, owners can now begin to plan for land uses along that 260 corridor."
"The land use map provides the same opportunities for rooftop and commercial development that were here before the economic downturn," Jenkins continued. "As soon as the economy comes back, someone will pick this up and finish what the others had started. This community is still affordable, with lots of room, and it's a community ripe for a healthy amount of growth."
Thursday's meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in council chambers, 473 S Main St. #106. To view a Land Use map for the Town of Camp Verde, click on link below.