The Lovettsville Town Council on Saturday held a comprehensive strategic planning session to begin framing its vision for the community’s development.
The Planning Commission is working through its proposed revised comprehensive plan, which is receiving final touches from the Planning Commission and a public hearing on the work is scheduled for Nov. 16.
The council’s planning session was facilitated by consultant Sam Finz.
“We kept the conversation very focused,” Town Manager Laszlo Palko noted Monday morning of the council’s review of the Town Plan’s major elements.
Several participants were pleased with what was achieved on Saturday.
Vice Mayor Tiffaney Carder praised Zoning Administrator Josh Bateman and the Planning Commission for “a superb job” in preparing the updated town plan.
“It was a pleasure to have the goals of each chapter within the plan so well done and to work with other council members and the mayor to discuss where each of us would like to see the Town of Lovettsville in five years and beyond,” she said.
Carder said the next step for the council will be to fine tune its vision statement and overall goals for the town so they can be included in the plan.
Councilman Jim McIntyre also complimented the Planning Commission and members of the community who assisted the council in a series of work sessions, for their “masterful job of bringing our Comprehensive Plan up to date and presenting us with a very solid document.”
McIntyre said the focus of the town’s agenda remains “Living Local,” with the main thrust for the future focusing on economic development … attracting the businesses our citizens need for their day to day lives.”
Palko said the discussion focused on a broad outline of the various elements of the plan, not the details.
“They worked on the framework of their vision and the key issues they want identified,” Palko said. Housing received a lot of comment, along with land use, transportation and public facilities. The retreat ended with a discussion on how to address the council’s overall vision, values and goals.
The council has been careful to inform the Planning Commission of its preferences, while respecting the commissioners’ independent role in the town plan revision process, Palko said.
While there is general agreement on key items, overall the council will have to decide “just what is a small town,” Palko said.
“That’s the question of the day—how to stay small versus commercial [growth] and infrastructure,” he said of the problem that affects many towns as leaders strive to achieve balance between sometimes conflicting goals.