The Greensboro City Council is scheduled to pass the new comprehensive plan GSO2040 on April 21, with the new plan to go into effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year on July 1, 2020.
Planning Director Sue Schwartz gave a presentation on GSO2040 at the City Council work session on Monday, March 2. The meeting was moved to Monday because Tuesday, March 3 is Super Tuesday, with a long ballot and a lot of candidates to root for or against.
Schwartz spent a lot of time talking about the extensive community outreach that was involved in developing the plan. During the past two years, over 150 “engagement events” were held and over 6,000 people were reached.
Vision statements highlighted were: “Greensboro is the Greenest City in the Southeast”
“Greensboro is Committed to equity, diversity and inclusivity”
“We make History”
“Greensboro is a City of inspiration and creativity where people and businesses thrive.”
Schwartz noted that the current Comprehensive Plan Connections 2025 became all about the Generalized Future Land Use Map (GFLUM) and amending the GFLUM.
GSO2040 has two maps, the “Future Land Use” and the “Future Built Form,” but those maps will not have to be amended when property is rezoned that is not in compliance with the map. It will make rezoning requests more streamlined and Schwartz said the GFLUM seemed to create some confusion.
Schwartz said that the policies, not the map, were the main focus of GSO2040, so the focus should be on upholding the policies of the plan and not the color on the map.
The Future Land Use map is also much simpler than the Connections 2025 GFLUM. There is only one residential designation instead of the myriad of residential designations on the current GFLUM.
The policies are supposed to be a guideline for how the city will develop, but as Schwartz noted, the policies can conflict and the City Council will have to determine which policy or policies take precedence.
Councilmember Justin Outling, who worked with the GSO2040 committee, said that in the beginning of the process two years ago he looked at comprehensive plans from cities all across the country, including the one from Wilmington that won awards.
He said of GSO2040, “I’m not aware of a better plan.”
He said that the new comprehensive plan “should help orient the discussion in a more helpful way.”
There were a few questions from councilmembers, but no real criticisms.
Outling also noted that the plan was done in house by the planning department, which saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultant fees.