Public participation will be key as a land-use study for areas just west of the Route 22/I-95 interchange in Aberdeen is developed over the coming months.
“This is really critical for this process to be effective,” Patrick Small told the mayor and City Council during a meeting Monday evening. “This really needs to be a plan that’s supported by your citizens and constituents in order to get traction and move forward.”
Small is a senior planner with the Matrix Design Group in Crofton. Matrix was hired by the city earlier this year to conduct the study, which Small said will cover three planning areas — the Integrated Business District within the city’s northwestern boundary extending to Aldino-Stepney Road and the Gilbert and Long/Heat planning areas not in the city limits. Gilbert and Long/Heat have been part of Aberdeen’s comprehensive plan and cited for future growth for many years.
Small said each of the three planning areas are “unique” in terms of their geography, the existing development and the vision for the areas listed in the comprehensive plan. The most recent version of the city’s comprehensive plan was released in 2011, and municipal leaders are working on the next update for the plan. The state requires municipalities to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years.
“It’s really our job to supplement that [vision] with information from the community to provide a comprehensive overview of what the potential is for those development areas,” Small said.
Small and his team are currently collecting data on the three planning areas as they prepare for five public workshops that start April 10.
The first workshop will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, with a second workshop the same day, from 7 to 9 p.m. with the Aberdeen Planning Commission.
The third session will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 17 with the Aberdeen Economic Development Commission. An evening session is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m.
The final session will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. All workshops will be in the City Council chambers in City Hall at 60 N. Parke St.
In response to a question from Mayor Patrick McGrady, Small said that the content presented at each session will be “identical in nature.”
“If somebody can’t make the 4 p.m. [workshop], they can come to the 7 p.m. one, and they’re not going to miss anything,” McGrady said.
“Absolutely,” Small replied.