The City of Mount Airy first adopted a comprehensive plan in 1961 and it was of great value for several years, being reviewed and amended annually as necessary to keep it up to date. Unfortunately at some point only the zoning code and map and the subdivision ordinance continued to be maintained, with the other components disappearing, to the disadvantage of the city with regard to being able to continue to make sound decisions about the city’s future, based upon relevant up to date data in the missing components..
I was pleased to hear of the city commission, upon the recommendation of the planning board, adopting a new comprehensive plan. Not only is the new comprehensive plan the product of the city’s well qualified planning consultants, but of the input of citizens, the city manager, the relevant highly professional department heads and other senior city staff.
Without comparable data from other municipalities with regard to citizen input for the preparation of municipal comprehensive plans, it is difficult to judge whether the 5 percent level of input for the preparation of the comprehensive plan in the city of Mount Airy (actually closer to 10 percent of the adult population of the city of Mount Airy) was above average, average or below average. Looking at it another way, the great majority of adult citizens of Mount Airy may well have believed the senior relevant city staff and the planning board were well qualified to provide input for the consideration of the city’s planning consultants.
The key to maintaining the quality of the comprehensive plan recently adopted by the city commission is an annual review of all the components of the plan. Based upon the review, any necessary amendment to the comprehensive plan should be made, so that all components of the comprehensive plan remain fresh and relevant.
Peter F. Lydens