County receives award for 20/20 vision plan

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Polk County was recently honored with a Marvin Collins Outstanding Planning Award by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (NCAPA) Awards Committee.

The award was given for Polk Countys 20/20 vision plan, the countys comprehensive plan which was adopted in March.

The award was presented at the North Carolina Annual Planning Conference Awards luncheon on Sept. 30 in New Bern. Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) officials recognized Polk County for the award at the Polk County Board of Commissioners meeting last week.

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I commend you for the excellent work youve done on this document, said IPDC Executive Director Jim Edwards. Youre certainly worthy of this award. And weve spread the news that Polk County knows how to get it done.

The awards represent the highest standards of achievement in the planning profession in North Carolina, and highlight exemplary planning initiatives worthy of attention, stated a release from the North Carolina Marvin Collins Planning Awards.

The plan provides the county with a vision, prioritized goals and objectives and workable recommendations to guide the direction and pace of future growth and development, the Marvin Collins Planning Awards statement said.

The awards committee found the plan to be very comprehensive, noting for example its recommendations and action steps related to affordable housing and farmland preservation, states the release. It also liked the economic development thread that connected various aspects of the plan. The committee thought many of the plans recommendations focused on issues that the county has the ability to manage.

Polk County has recently appointed a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) committee, which plans to compile all of Polks ordinance into one document as well as implement some of the action plans from the 20/20 vision plan through the countys ordinances.

Members of the visioning committee, which drafted the comprehensive plan, commissioners, planners and the planning board were all recognized last week and applauded for their work.

Balancing the growth equation in the mountain counties of Western North Carolina has been a struggle for many years, said the Marvin Collins Planning Awards statement. The Polk County 20/20 Vision Plan strived to create a unified vision for the future of a small, rural, but rapidly developing county where growth management was a divisive subject. A 22-member visioning committee worked with staff and consultants to develop the plan through a process that emphasized community education and involvement.

Much of Polks 20/20 Vision Plan derived from a county-wide survey asking residents what they wanted for Polks future.