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The Mount Airy Town Council voted unanimously Monday to adopt a key land use planning document, the 2013 Master Plan.

The master plan enacted Monday was updated from the 2003 Master Plan, reflecting growth and other changes over the past decade.

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Updates and changes included altering land-use designations and zoning regulations, addressing a perceived need for a broader transportation service in town, managing the protection and utilization of resources, water availability and sewage treatment capacity, and proposed expansion of community facilities, such as schools and parks.

Bill Butts, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said the process to create a new comprehensive Master Plan was significant and involved a great number of groups and people.

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"[The commission] tried to utilize a very thorough process," he said. "We reviewed previous master plans and community needs assessments, and the recommendation of residents. We tried to make it a transparent process so people had an idea where we were on the draft."

An update to the Master Plan was pursued for a variety of reasons, chief among them the growth of the town. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town residential population grew 31 percent between 2000 and 2010 and now 62 percent of the land in Mount Airy has been dedicated to residential development.

The town council decided to shift the focus of the plan from residential to commercial industry in order to meet perceived employment, shopping and entertainment needs of residents.

The planning commission focused on in-fill opportunities rather than expanding the town's borders — and infrastructure network — to allow for future development, Butts said.

"Now we can go about implementing it together, and that's exciting," he said. "It will continue to get better as long as we remain committed to the community."

Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or wiley.hayes@carrollcountytimes.com.

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