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New Hanover County Seeks Public Participation for Comprehensive Plan Launch Thursday


Talk of regional branding, what to do about gang violence, how to re-write New Hanover County’s special use permit… it’s all part of the current public dialogue.

It's not uncommon for residents to complain that they don't have a voice in the development of county policy.  But in order for a Comprehensive Plan that effectively represents the community to take shape, County officials say they hope to engage stakeholders across a broad demographic range. 

The public launch of the County’s Comprehensive Plan takes place Thursday, February 27. 

Chris O’Keefe, Planning and Inspections Director for New Hanover County, says those who participate in this discussion will have a hand not only in identifying the topics that are most important -- but in shaping the direction of this region for years to come.

“The point of the plan is to create a vision for the future of the County that we’re going to use to align our policies for growth and development… People are the key component to this process.  So if the people are working with us to create that vision, and also working with us to develop the policies that are going to help us implement that vision, then the people become that component.  That empowers them.”

Six themed committees will be tasked with identifying issues and developing policy recommendations.    The final document, which is expected to take a year to develop, will serve as the road map to the County's vision for the next 25 years.  It will also inform the revision and update of the County's zoning ordinance. 

Any New Hanover County resident is welcome to join a committee.   There are no prerequisites and no applications. 


WHEN:  Thursday, February 27th -- 3-5 PM

WHERE:  New Hanover County Government Center, 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 135 -- Human Resources; Conference Room 402B

The Comprehensive Plan will be the guide to address the county's current development trends and determine the vision for the county over the next 25 years. 

To participate in the process:

  • Attend the public launch meeting on February 27th.
  • Sign up online at www.plannhc.com for updates.
  • Join one of six committees (see themes below) at the public launch. 

Theme Committee Dates for First Meeting
All meetings will be held from 11am to 1pm

In the Lucie Harrell Conference Room at the Government Center

  • March 17thLivable Built Environment: Ensure that all elements of the built environment, including land use, transportation, housing, energy, and infrastructure work together to provide sustainable, green places for living, working, and recreation, to produce a high quality life.

•           March 19thHarmony with Nature:  Ensure the contributions of natural resources to human well-being are explicitly recognized and valued and that maintaining their health is a primary objective.

•           March 21stResponsible Regionalism:  Ensure all local proposals account for, connect with, and support the plans of adjacent jurisdictions and the surrounding region.

•           March 24thInterwoven Equity:  Ensure fairness and equity in providing housing, services, health, safety, and livelihood needs of all citizen groups.

•           March 26thHealthy Community:  Ensure public health needs are recognized and addressed through provisions for healthy foods, physical activity, access to recreation, health care, environmental justice, and safe neighborhoods.

•           March 27thResilient Economy:  Ensure the community is prepared to deal with both positive and negative changes in its economic health and to initiate sustainable urban development and redevelopment strategies that foster business growth through technology and innovation and build reliance on local assets.