CAMP VERDE - The Camp Verde Planning and Zoning Commission will hold its fifth work session Thursday at 6 p.m. to update the Town's General Plan.
The public is encouraged to attend and participate in the process, according to Mike Jenkins, Camp Verde Community Development director.
The commission and Town staff will continue to discuss the character areas concept and how it may become a part of the Town's Land Use Element, one of the 10 elements in the Town's General Plan.
Character areas are guidelines to encourage development to respect the unique identity of each area, said Jenna Owens, assistant planner for the Town of Camp Verde.
Camp Verde Economic Development Director Steve Ayers "sees economic development," Owens said. "But he also recognizes the big picture, of character areas possibly providing cohesive land use for the town. A concern has been that the character area will be a design review. It isn't at all."
According to Ayers, the designation of character areas provides communities "with much greater flexibility than a plan that is based on a single map, with a single set of goals and implementation strategies for the entire community. They also provide developers and other investors with a greater degree of clarity on what the community wants. Contrary to what some people believe, developers want to know what communities want, because they don't want to waste their time and money fighting a community over a proposal that is not wanted."
Character areas "exhibit physical characteristics that can provide interest to the town, comprised of one or more character areas that are determined by the community," Jenkins also said.
Jenkins also said that Town staff will be asking the commission - and the general public - how the Town can build on its established characteristics and strengthen the identity of each character area, while also promoting new images for the town."
Said Chairman Chip Norton of the Planning and Zoning Commission, "I think that the Commission generally feels that the existing [general] plan is an exceptional and visionary plan, ratified by the voters of Camp Verde, and that we don't want to lose the essence of that plan during the 10-year plan review.
"I believe that staff feels the same way, so in that respect we are on the same page," Norton added. "The challenge for both staff and the commission is how to utilize the concept of character areas to enhance the existing plan without compromising the intent of the plan."
"Nobody has laid out how these character areas would work in Camp Verde," Jenkins said. "If the commission directs staff to look into the character areas concept, we will be prepared to provide them a sample of how character areas work."
The Land Use Element, Jenkins also said, is one of the biggest elements to the General Plan and requires the most work.
The General Plan must be re-adopted, updated or completely re-worked by 2015. Camp Verde residents last ratified the Town's General Plan, a 10-year plan, on March 8, 2005. The Commission has tentatively planned meetings to be held through October 2014.
Thursday's General Plan work session is open to the public and will be held in council chambers, 473 S. Main St., room 106.