The Rockingham City Council on Tuesday appointed a new steering committee to oversee updating the city’s overall land use plan.
The plan, “Shaping Our Future: 2012,” was adopted in July 2002 and expires this year. It served as the blueprint for most land use related decisions and special projects over the last decade in the city, and is in need of updating.
City Planning Director John Massey, who is coordinating the revision of the long range plan, had recommended the City Council start by appointing the current eight members of the city’s Planning Board to the steering committee. Councilmen had also suggested the names of others willing to serve from the community.
Massey said the goal was to select residents “to get a diverse cross section of the community” to oversee the writing of the land use plan, which he characterized as a “community vision.”
Current Planning Board members are: John Stevenson, Wilson Moore, Anne Edwards, Tom Ingle, Jerry Goodman, Terry Greene, Paul Prelipp and Ryland Wilbun.
Mayor Pro Tem John Hutchinson had suggested Jim Wallace, a Rockingham businessman and former Planning Board member, be appointed to the committee.
Mark Tyler, Ellen Covington and former city councilman Ed Chisolm were suggested by Councilman Steven Morris.
At last month’s meeting, Councilman Bennett Deane III suggested Steve Davis, his brother Jason Deane, and Jerry Murphy for the committee. On Tuesday night, Deane also mentioned Tim Hayden and Cory Wilson.
Councilman Travis Billingsley said he was also willing to serve on the steering committee.
In the end, the City Council appointed all eight members of the Planning Board to the special committee, along with the nine other names suggested, plus Billingsley.
Also on Tuesday, the councilmen discussed and approved several projects tied to new Community Development Block Grants received by the city.
The largest is a $720,000 grant that will be used to extend the city’s sanitary sewer lines to property owners along South Street in East Rockingham.
Old and failing septic tanks in that area have created a serious health hazard, city officials said.
“It’s really a bad situation,” said Sandy Ridley, Community Development Director and Grants Administrator.
Councilman Deane said it’s fortunate the city can help those folks, and he imagines the people living on South Street will be happy to learn the sewer is coming.
“Believe me, they are excited,” Ridley said.
In other matters Tuesday, the council:
• Approved an order to demolish a dilapidated dwelling at 200 Hamer Road.
• Heard an update on the Rockingham-Ellerbe Wastewater Project.
• Heard an update on the progress of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham. The children’s interactive museum is being constructed on East Washington Street in downtown Rockingham in what used to be the McKenzie Furniture building. Discovery Place, Inc. officials have said they hope to open to the public in early 2013. City Manager Monty Crump reported Tuesday that construction is on schedule and under budget, allowing the city to spend money to install new curb and gutter around the building.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.