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Let your voice be heard

A portion of the Town of Farmville’s residents gathered at The Firemen’s Arena Thursday to hear about the beginning stages of the town’s overhaul and revision of its comprehensive plan, its zoning ordinance and its subdivision ordinance, which details the town’s goals for the future, its processes relating to zoning and operations relating to subdivisions.

Catherine Redfern and Todd Gordon of the Berkley Group spoke about the 20-month process of overhauling and making three new major documents simultaneously.

The process to gather data in order to have the plan and two ordinances reflect the town’s current landscape, according to Redfern and Gordon, would include reviewing existing land use tools, conducting public workshops and surveys, conducting transportation and land use analyses, making drafts of the plan and ordinances, holding public review and refining the documents, and lastly holding a public hearing and adoption of the documents.

The process to revise the comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance is in its beginning stages now. It is expected to be adopted in early 2020.

During the open house, the nearly 70 residents who attended worked in groups and came up with strengths, weaknesses, a vision statement for the Town of Farmville and goals.

Strengths audience members suggested included the town’s historical resources, its close proximity to Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College, ample recreational opportunities due to the nearby colleges, proximity to nature through High Bridge Trail and the Appomattox River, the town being clean and often free of litter, its close proximity to medical services and having an engaged and service-oriented community.

Challenges including lack of off-campus student housing or housing options for residents and newcomers, a large percentage of the population being underprivileged and living in poverty, lack of support in the public school system, lack of retail and grocery options and lack of bike access on roadways. Goals included maintaining the small-town character of Farmville but offering more retail and grocery options, better supporting the public school system and creating an inclusive community for families, students, elderly, youth and young professionals.

Redfern asked and answered a necessary question related to plan and ordinances.

“Who is involved with this process?” Redfern asked during the presentation. “Everyone.”

A second public meeting is projected to take place in October. Everyone has a voice, and no two people live in Farmville the same way. Each person who spoke potentially voiced suggestions and concerns that their neighbors had. Your voice is important and has the opportunity to be heard at the next open house meeting. The struggles and drawbacks you experience personally have the opportunity to be addressed and changed for the better.

We at the Herald encourage everyone who seeks to continue making Farmville a better place to live for themselves and neighbors to attend and speak during the next meeting.