Orange County Comprehensive Plan Update

Orange County is about to complete Phase 1 of its Comprehensive Plan Update. At 7:00 pm on Tuesday, August 7 there will be a Public Information Meeting at New Hope Elementary School (click for Google Map) hosted by Orange County Planning staff. The meeting is intended to explain the purpose of and process for the Update, as well as receive feedback regarding the County's Draft Goals (PDF) that will be presented at a Public Hearing on August 27th. For the latest official information about the Orange County Comprehensive Plan Update you can visit the Orange County planning department.

The Orange County Comprehensive Plan will guide growth and development within the County's planning jurisdiction and is intended to be effective until 2030. The Update is an exceptional opportunity to bring about important changes in how the county manages new growth and development.
In light of this opportunity, The Village Project has prepared a Perspective Statement on the Comprehensive Plan Update that includes a recommended set of principles, goals, and strategies for managing new growth and development that we believe should be reflected in the Orange County Comprehensive Plan. The Village Project believes that these recommendations will help Orange County develop in such a way that the environmental, social, and economic consequences are sustainable, just, and equitable.
The Village Project encourages everyone to take a look at the County's draft goals and the Village Project Perspective Statement, and to come out to either or both of these upcoming events to help shape Orange County's future!



Patrick, nice set of principles many of which I have supported.

Curious as to why waste management wasn't part of th4e environmental and economic development planks.

Also, has the VillageProject discussed any metrics? For instance, how to determine the overall carrying capacity of the OC in terms of population, housing, commercial development, etc.?

If you've been watching OWASA's stats the last few months you'd realize the reservoirs are dropping fairly quickly (and no let up in sight). Given our known water supplies, for instance, has the VP taken a stab at developing parameters for various types of growth?

I hope the VP keeps on rattling assumptions - it helps develop a much more multi-dimensional view of local development.

Will, thanks for reading and for the kind words. On the waste management issue, the County did not specify a goal on waste management, so we did not react to it. I hasten to add this doesn't mean The Village Project made a conscious decision to NOT talk about waste management. Have a goal in mind?

On carrying capacity, the Village Project has not taken that question on. However, I would expect that OC has a variety of carrying capacities depending on how the county builds out.

An analysis of stormwater runoff scenarios by the EPA provides an example. Here is their recent report Protecting Water Resources with Higher-Density Development.

Download the PDF and for the key findings, read page 26 and check out the chart on page 27. In short, for 10,000 homes, going from a 1 unit/1 acre build-out program in a watershed to a 4 units/acre build-out program can create a 67% reduction in the amount of stormwater runoff per year at the watershed level.

Put another way, if the amount of runoff that breached the watershed carrying capacity was that associated with 10,001 units at 4 units/acre, then you could add 10,000 units to the watershed. If you built out at 1 unit/acre, you could only add 3315 units before breaching the same level of impact on the watershed.

Obviously, this is a vastly oversimplified example, but if I was a County Commissioner wrestling with a serious workforce housing problem and this was the only concern regarding carrying capacity, you'd have some things to think about regarding county zoning, yes?

Hey! I got a great idea! Waste management? No problem, just keep dumping our waste on the Rogers Road folks. It's worked for 40 years so far!

I am so glad we hired the village people to deal with growth.

Far be it from me to stop anyone, but FYI: each snarky comment posted just means less people will listen to what you have to say in the future. People can tell the difference between raising salient but difficult questions and scoring cheap points at others' expense.

Gee, thanks for the tip.

For the record, all of The Village Project's work on Carolina North and the Orange County Comprehensive Plan Update has been done in our spare time, with 100% volunteer contributions of expertise and effort.

John, as I pointed out to Will, there is nothing in the County's draft goals about waste management. I'd encourage you to go to the meetings on both August 7th and August 27th, and to let the staff and politicians know that this needs to be addressed, and to recommend some goals for the County to adopt on waste management.

Patrick, I understand why the VillageProject didn't respond directly this round on waste management but I do know that it's a topic folks associated with the VP have spoken to and thought about. Is there anything I can read on the VP site (or elsewhere) to prep for the 27th?

As far as carrying capacity - the metrics I've seen so far in the OC's comprehensive plan are fairly general and pitched towards a particular type of development in different regions of the county. As a systems engineer I like to model the problem in terms of inputs and outputs, which seems to be a distinctly different way of looking at projected carrying capacity of our county than a planner. Do you think the OC's planning guys would entertain a more systems oriented approach to designing metrics for the comprehensive plan or am I barking up the wrong tree (or lost in the forest)?

There is a solid waste goal in the county's document:

"Less solid waste per capita with cost effective and environmentally responsible disposal and management."

I believe John's point is that this should read as environmentally and socially responsible disposal and management.

Terri, directly to my point. What is less? What is environmentally sound disposal and management? Maybe I'm thinking too goal oriented here or maybe the comprehensive plan isn't the place to specify these goals - that's why I'm throwing the question out there...

Thank you Terri for your great post on carrying capacity on LocalEcology.

“Less solid waste per capita with cost effective and environmentally responsible disposal and management.”

More stupidspeak.

How does that treatise calculate out for the folks on Rogers Road in "the" Orange County, I wonder??

Lots of nice concepts all over the place, no concrete decisions or direction as far as I can see. Where does the trash go? Why??

Maybe our beloved county board will abide by the ideas the little writeup presented but I for one AM holding my breath, it still stinks over here near Rogers Road.

Until the county officials wake up and realize how much the Rogers Road neighborhood has been defecated on over the last 30-40 years you can post all the nice plans you want about growth, water supply etc. but none of it is worth reading until there is recognition and planning for the mess that is already within our borders. Where is the plan for cleaning up that??

The goals in the comprehensive plan are meant to be somewhat nebulous. Following adoption of goals, there will be more in-depth objectives developed to fulfill each goal. Following the adoption of objectives, the county will then develop methods to specific implementations to meet those objectives.

As I see it, the plan is designed to offer a vision for Orange County, then provide ways in which to reach that vision.

Just a reminder that tonight is the public hearing mentioned above- everyone is encouraged to come. Here is a story from the CH News on the coalition of groups that are now working together to support a better Comprehensive Plan for Orange County.

Also see the following CH News Op-Ed by Allan Rosen from yesterday:

When did the Homebuilders Association & the CoC begin to understand the meaning of "comprehensive"?


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