Planning Board to hold discussions on several land use topics

Wil Petty Staff Writer

January 21, 2014

The Ashe County Planning Board, in its first meeting of 2014, was updated on results from an ongoing land use plan survey released to the public for responses in October of last year.

“We’ve had about 270 responses back,” said Adam Stumb, planning director for Ashe County. “We’re pretty pleased with the results.”

Having the survey online had initially concerned some members of the board, believing the senior population would not be as involved in the process. Stumb said in the meeting that the majority of the responses were coming from seniors.

Vice chairman Rick Surber was one of the board members not surprised by this finding.

“It is the majority of the county’s demographic anyway,” he said.

Stumb said he hoped more responses would come in before the land use survey ends on Feb.1.

To access the survey and learn more about the Planning Board’s land use plan, go to

“Now is the time to do (the survey),” Surber said.

After the survey

Once the data is collected from the survey, the Ashe County Planning Board wants to hold several meetings on different topics to receive public input on the plan.

In the February meetings, the board will be presented with “Section 1” of the plan by Stumb, which will focus on demographic data and on Feb. 20 will have the final survey results.

On March 6 the board will discuss residential development, housing and subdivisions, and the March 20 meeting will focus on development along U.S. 221.

About the meeting of U.S. 221 development Stumb said, “It seems to be a concern for a lot of folks.”

Chairman Gene Hafer asked if there would be anything in writing about U.S. 221 and Stumb said yes.

Stumb said he will be attending a quarterly transportation meeting in two weeks, where the county will get an update on the progress.

The April 3 meeting will focus on employment in the fields of agriculture, industry and tourism, while the April meeting will be about infrastructure and transportation in the county.

Finally, the May 1 meeting will discuss quality of life including parks and public land and a May 15 meeting will serve as a “wrap-up” on the survey.

Stumb said during the summer he would compile all the data and use that to come up with a finalized plan.

“I want to have a draft by August,” he said, “even if it’s a rough draft.”

From there, Stumb said fall would be spent fine-tuning everything and putting another plan out for the public to see.

In other action by the Board:

—Board members were updated on changes in laws regarding the planning board. Those include notice of hearings, variances, appeals and conflicts of interest.

—Minutes from December were approved 3-0.

—In attendance were Arvil Scott, Gene Hafer and Rick Surber. Darrell Hamilton and Priscilla Cox were excused from the meeting.

Wil Petty may be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @wilpetty