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Mapping out the future

The second Farmville comprehensive plan open house meeting had a bit of an interactive twist, where participants got to actively map out the needs and potential solutions the town could explore.

The town recently began the process to update its comprehensive plan and zoning and subdivision ordinances, holding the first community meeting Aug. 23 at the Firemen’s Sports Arena.

According to a public notice of Tuesday’s open house, officials said the meeting will allow residents to “learn about the update process, ask questions, and provide input on specific topics and issues.”

The Berkley Group is working with the town to develop the new comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 2005. Portions of the plan and ordinances have been updated and amended since then.

Berkley Group representative Todd Gordon said the next steps of the process would be to take the information and material from the Tuesday workshop and use it to develop a community survey for residents.

Participants sat at six tables in three rows. Each row had a different subject that participants got to draw out on a map of the town.

The subjects included transportation, community character and quality of life, and growth and development.

Participants highlighted areas on the maps where transportation are concerns for vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles; where area trails, recreation facilities and community gatherings and event spaces could improve; and areas that could use growth and development, and areas which should be preserved.

Jared Davenport and Cameron Patterson represented the groups that discussed transportation issues. They noted road issues with vehicles that include the left-hand turn lane at the intersection of Milnwood Road and South Main Street, the intersection of Main and Third streets due to large vehicles making left-hand or right-hand turns, and the intersection of Second and Main streets. There was also the suggestion to consider allowing motorists coming eastbound through U.S. Route 460 to exit into downtown Farmville.

Road issues with pedestrians included the area of South Main Street that includes Midtown Square and McDonald’s, the intersection of Oak and High streets, and Griffin Boulevard, adding more biking and pedestrian walkways downtown, and areas of High Street where the sun prevented motorists from being able to see pedestrians crossing the street, and where pedestrians can be distracted while crossing. One suggestion made was to install 3D crosswalks.

Rick Ewing, director of the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Library, mentioned that a higher volume of Amish residents are moving into the area, and to consider roadways that better accommodate horse and buggy.

Ann Yoelin and Patrick Crute represented the growth and development groups, suggesting that High Street, the Avenues, Oak Street, Griffin Boulevard, Jesse’s Way and the residential area off Buffalo Street be preserved from development. Suggestions included developing the area along the U.S. Route 460 bypass up to the intersection of Route 15 North where Dowdy’s Corner is located and the area off U.S. Route 15 where the YMCA and the Prince Edward County Department of Social Security office are currently located and where the new FACES food pantry is set to be located.

Development that could be located at these areas included senior housing options, affordable housing, potential for other types of housing such as townhouses, retail stores, grocery stores, additional neighborhoods with neighborhood parks and children’s playgrounds, and more parking and outdoor spaces.

Richard McClintock and John Miller represented the two groups that discussed community character and quality of life. Their suggestions included preserving nature and wooded spaces in the area, potentially connecting the Sarah Terry Trail and Dogwood Trail to the High Bridge Trail State Park and bike lanes through downtown and South Main Street. Also discussed were a detour to keep tractor trailers and trucks off Main Street, a riverwalk along the Appomattox River, a community pool, a walkway from the Longwood Sports Complex to Main Street for students and residents and utilization of the Longwood Golf Course for outdoor activities and conferences.

Dr. Mike Chandler with The Berkley Group thanked residents and town officials for participating and encouraged them to be forward-thinking.

“This is all part of the process,” Chandler said. “This is the first step in terms of civic input … Hopefully you will sustain your active involvement in this process.”