Achieving Red Willow County’s Vision of the Future
Successful county plans have the same key ingredients: "2% inspiration and 98% perspiration." This section of the Comprehensive Development Plan contains the inspiration of the County officials and residents who have participated in the planning process. However, the ultimate success of this Plan remains with the dedication of the current and future elected officials, employees and citizens of Red Willow County.
There are numerous goals and policies contained in this Plan. The Red Willow County Planning Commission should review Red Willow County’s goals and policies during regular planning and budget sessions and during the decision making process for proposed changes in land use located in the County.
Red Willow County should identify and select three goals of the Plan for immediate action and implementation. These goals may include projects to overcome negatives in the county; or projects that protect and enhance the positive aspects of the County; or issues or barriers which may prevent or limit the implementation of the Plan.
The Action Plan is a combination of the following:
§ Growth Policies,
§ Land Use Policies, and
§ Support programs for the above items.
The creation of the action plan should be the result of public sessions that allow residents input into the process of implementing their Plan. Goals and Policies have been defined through public participation during the process of developing this Plan. Future public sessions could focus on prioritizing necessary projects into a process of phased development. It will be critical to earmark the specific funds to be used and the individuals responsible for implementing the goals and policies in Red Willow County.
Four programs will play a vital role in the success of Red Willow County’s Plan. These programs may include:
1. Capital Improvements Financing--an annual predictable investment plan that uses a six-year planning horizon to schedule and fund projects integral to the Plan's implementation.
2. Zoning Regulations--updated land use districts can allow the County to provide direction for future growth.
3. Subdivision Regulations--establish criteria for dividing land into building areas, utility easements, and streets.
4. Comprehensive Plan Maintenance--an annual and five-year review program will permit flexibility in responding to County growth or decline, and development pressures and trends through a continuous maintenance schedule. Such updating will ensure the viability of the Red Willow County Comprehensive Development Plan.
A Comprehensive Development Plan, which is current and relevant to the policies of Red Willow County, is critical to successful planning. The Plan must be kept current if it is expected to maintain the confidence of both public and private sectors, enable the effectiveness of planning activities, and most importantly, ensure appropriate use of land within the County. The Annual Review of the Plan should occur annually during the meeting of the Planning Commission in the month of January.
After adoption of the Comprehensive Development Plan, an opportunity should be provided to identify any changes in conditions that would impact elements or policies of the Plan. At the beginning of each year a report should be prepared by the Planning Commission that provides information and recommendations on:
§ Whether the plan is current in respect to population and economic changes.
§ Whether the land use goals, objectives and policies still validly apply to the County’s long-term growth goals.
The Planning Commission should hold a public hearing and oversee the development of a report in order to:
§ Provide citizens or developers with an opportunity to identify and present possible changes to the Comprehensive Development Plan,
§ Identify any changes in the status of projects called for in the Comprehensive Development Plan, and
§ Bring forth any issues, or identify any changes in conditions that may impact the validity of the Comprehensive Development Plan.
When the Planning Commission discovers any major policy issues or changes in assumptions or conditions that have arisen within the past year that could necessitate revisions to the Plan, they should recommend further study of these impacts to determine if changes in the Plan are necessary. When they have identified necessary amendments, they should follow the procedures detailed in the next section.
It is anticipated that each year individuals or groups may come before the Planning Commission with proposals to amend the Comprehensive Development Plan. All proposals to amend the Plan should be made at one special annual meeting, typically in January, dedicated to the review of the Comprehensive Development Plan. A review of all proposed amendments to the Plan at one time allows for a determination as to the impact each proposal will likely have on another, as well as the overall impact on the on surrounding land uses.
County planning personnel should compile a list of all proposed amendments received during the year, as well as a report providing basic and detailed information about the proposal. County personnel should also make a recommendation to the Planning Commission based upon their own analysis of the proposals. The Comprehensive Development Plan amendment process should adhere to Nebraska state statutes and should also provide for organized participation and involvement by interested citizens.
If major, new, innovative development opportunities arise which impact several elements of the Plan and are determined to be of importance to the County, it is recommended that a Plan amendment be proposed and reviewed for the betterment of the County. Such a review of an unanticipated opportunity may occur at a meeting other than the special annual meeting used for Plan review. This will allow the County to take advantage of opportunities that may be too time sensitive to wait for the regular special meeting.
The interpretation of the Comprehensive Development Plan should be composed of a continuous and related series of analyses, with references to the goals and policies, the land use plan, and specific land use policies. Moreover, when considering specific proposed developments, interpretation of the Plan should include a thorough review of all sections of the Plan. If a development proposal is not consistent with the Plan, consideration should be given to modifying the proposal or the Planning Commission may utilize the following criteria to determine whether a Comprehensive Development Plan amendment is justified:
§ The character of the adjacent neighborhood or land use,
§ The zoning and uses on nearby properties,
§ The suitability of the property for the uses allowed under the current zoning designation,
§ The type and extent of positive or detrimental impact that may affect adjacent properties, or the county at large, if the request is approved,
§ The impact of the proposal on public utilities and facilities,
§ The length of time that the subject and adjacent properties have been utilized for their current uses,
§ The benefits of the proposal to the public health, safety, and welfare compared to the hardship imposed on the applicant if the request is not approved,
§ A comparison between existing land use and the proposed change regarding conformance to community goals and policies, and
§ The recommendation from the County Planning Staff concerning the proposed amendment.