Citizens Plan for Watauga County
Our firm assisted Watauga County with the preparation of the Citizens’ Plan for Watauga, which provides a comprehensive plan to manage change in Watauga County for the next decade and beyond. The “Citizens’ Plan for Watauga” is an expression of the vision of Watauga citizens and leaders of the County’s goals and objectives for managing change in the community. The plan’s purpose is to provide a balance between managing change, preserving community traditions, protecting the natural environment, and enhancing quality of life. The final plan is a reflection of the Watauga community’s concern for such principles. At the same time, this plan focuses on new issues that have emerged, such as “sustainability” and “green” issues, which are of great importance to the future of the Watauga community. Citizens’ Plan for Watauga provides recommendations related to transportation, economic development, key community services, housing, community identity, and parks and recreation, and examines key economic sectors, including education/research, medical/research, tourism and recreation, industry and business, and agriculture.
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners named residents from each commission’s district and the County Planning Board to the Plan Oversight Group (POG) and appointed Commissioner Winston Kinsey as the direct representative from the County Commission. The POG recognized the inevitability of change, the necessary management of existing resources, and most of all, the essential need to have a broad-based process involving as many citizens as possible from all parts of the County. Throughout the process of this plan, WR-Martin facilitated 10 public meetings as well as monthly meetings with the POG. Half the meetings were at the beginning of the process; the remainder of the meetings occurred after public input sessions were conducted. WR-Martin conducted the final presentation to the County Commission and the Planning Board, who were invited to attend every information meeting held; additionally, the firm also conducted staff work sessions during the planning process.
Plan deliverables included a comprehensive planning document that included extensive charts, graphics, maps, photography and layout; an executive summary; Power Point presentations; and public information flyers. The firm also posted public meeting notices on the public channel. The deliverables were placed on a dedicated page on the County’s website. Additionally, WR-Martin provided press releases to the local newspapers and radio stations at specific milestones during the planning process; conducted a questionnaire that was posted on the County’s website and published in local newspapers and on the public access channel.