Small Area Plans
Questions & Answers
What is a Small Area Plan?
Currituck County recognizes that many of the communities within the county can benefit from focused planning efforts through the creation of Small Area Plans. Small Area Plans more carefully examine the local conditions and provide detailed recommendations with tailored solutions that are specific to the area. Small area plans build on the Land Use plan and provide a finer level of detail to address the area’s unique needs and opportunities.
The content of Small Area Plans vary, depending on the geographic area and purpose of the plan. The plans typically include policies that address:
- land use
- community design
- community heritage
- public facilities
- and the natural environment.
Small Area Planning seeks to engage people on a close-up, personal scale examining the community’s needs and issues. The result of this kind of process is a richly detailed plan that is heavily influenced by the community.
How are Small Area Plans initiated?
Generally, Small Area Plans are initiated at the direction of the Board of Commissioners due to community need or specific issues.
How are Small Area Plans developed?
Plans are developed by the Planning Staff and sometimes with the assistance of consultants utilizing the process below:
Step 1: Research & Data Gathering
Step 2: Data Analysis
Step 3: Kick- off Meeting
Step 4: Stakeholder Group Created
The primary role of the group is to assist staff in:
- identifying issues and opportunities
- developing a vision
- developing goals
- developing actions,
- developing plan recommendations.
- neighborhood associations
- business owners
- and the development community.
Occasionally, stakeholder group meetings are held in conjunction with community meeting opportunities.
Step 5: Development of a Draft Plan
A minimum of 2 community meetings will be held. The number of meetings is dependent on the issues and needs in the community and the individual planning process.
Step 6: Development of a Vision, Polices, & Actions
Step 7: Plan AdoptionCompleted Small Area Plans are presented to Planning Board for recommendation and Board of Commissioners for adoption.
How will I be involved in the planning process?
Community input is a crucial part of the planning process. There will be many opportunities and ways for the community to have input throughout the process. These include:
- A kick-off meeting is held early in the process to learn about small area plans, the process for development of the plan, what this means for property owners, and how citizens can get involved. Staff may also seek feedback from the community to learn more about the unique needs and issues.
- A stakeholder group will be established after a kick-off meeting consisting of citizens, merchants, business owners, and others that will work with staff to help develop recommendations for the plan.
- A minimum of 3 community input meetings will be held to gather feedback from citizens that will help staff develop a community vision, policies, and actions specific to the needs of the community.
- The community will also be given the opportunity to speak during public hearings by the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners for adoption.All citizens within a plan study area will be notified of community input opportunities during the process.
How will the plan be implemented?
Small Area Plans contain policies, actions, and recommendations that help County Staff, the Planning Board, and the Board of Commissioners to make decisions on zoning, public investment, and private initiatives. Inclusion of a recommended project in the plan does not mean the recommended project, program, or research has funding.
The actions and recommendations in the plan are prioritized and considered by the Board of Commissioners along with other projects and programs for funding.
What is the difference between land use recommendations in a small area plan and zoning?
Small Area Plans are Policy documents that address land use issues and define how land should be used in the future. Any land use policies adopted as part of an area plan are policy, not regulation.
Zoning designations are legal requirements that regulate how the land is used and built upon. When zoning regulations are developed or changed, they must be consistent with small area plans and the Land Use Plan.
How does Small Area Planning affect my property?
Citizens who own property within the plan area are encouraged to attend meetings and actively participate. A Small Area Plan may recommend changes to the currently adopted future land use map in order to implement the vision developed by the community for the area. Small Area Plans are not regulatory. They are policy guides used by staff, the Planning Board, and Board of Commissioners to assist in carrying out the community vision in the plan.
Any land use changes that are adopted as part of the small area planning process are only policy not regulatory. The inclusion of property in a Small Area Plan or a change to a future land use map does not change the zoning or impose regulations.