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4/9/2013 11:07:00 AM
Update to Williams general plan underway
Update to cost about $17,550, public can find out about plan process at April 18 P&Z meeting

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

The Williams general plan is due for its 10-year update, and the public is invited to be a part of the process.

Community members can get information and give comments about the general plan process at the April 18 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 113 S. First St.

"The plan is intended to be a general, kind of a broad overview of where a community is and how we see it going in the next 10 years," City Manager Brandon Buchanan said. "It does offer some specifics, but it's primarily a guiding document."

The Williams City Council approved a general plan proposal from Counts Planning at its March 14 meeting. The plan is expected to cost about $17,550.

The city uses outside planning firms to complete the general plan because of limited resources.

"The process requires expertise and time that we just don't have available right now from city staff," Buchanan said.

Rick Counts, president of Counts Planning, completed Williams' 2003 general plan when he was the head planner for Community Sciences Corporation.

"It gives us a leg up on being able to compare where we were then and where we are now and where the city wants to go in the future, and I think that's a big help," he said. "We can hit the ground running, and we don't have to start from scratch."

A general plan considers the status of seven elements and then lays out an implementation program, consisting of short-, mid-, and long-term actions to achieve objectives.

The first element is land use, including areas inside and outside of the city limits.

"What we're looking at is what's been developed, what's on the land, how much of it is urban or rural type uses and how much of it is still undeveloped or open space," Counts said. "We kind of look to the future and consider where new types of development might be accommodated."

The second element is circulation, or transportation. For this element the planner considers the city's road network, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and other connections, like I-40 and the Grand Canyon Railway.

The third element of the general plan is water resources, including retaining well water and surface water for dry periods.

The fourth element is cost of development, which takes into account how taxpayers and prospective developers pay for infrastructure when new construction occurs.

The fifth element is growth areas, which takes into account the most economical way to develop land.

The sixth element is open space, which includes parks, playgrounds and the natural surroundings of the area.

The final element of the plan is environmental planning, which deals with conserving natural resources.

The whole general plan process is expected to last until October.

After the April 18 meeting, another meeting will possibly take place in June. At the second meeting, Counts will share some preliminary findings with the community. At a third meeting, to possibly take place in August, Counts would present a draft proposal.

At that point, the general plan would undergo a 60-day review period, in which county and state agencies as well as members of the community can make additional suggestions. Finally, a public hearing would take place at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and then the city council will consider the plan for adoption.

Counts said he is pleased to be working in Williams again and hopes to hear comments about the plan from residents of all ages.

"I really look forward to being up there and rolling up my sleeves again," he said.

Related Stories:
• Williams P&Z to discuss general plan tonight
• Low turnout at P&Z meeting about Williams General Plan

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