Citizens gather for public meeting on Stafford’s Comprehensive Development Plan
By Karen Daniels
While in office years ago, President Richard Nixon mandated that every city develop a master plan. In 1971, the first and only comprehensive plan for the City of Stafford was adopted. Back then, Stafford was mostly a farming community and Texas Instruments had just opened their doors. The annual budget was $361K, while today’s budget is $20M. Stafford’s population in 1971 was 3K compared to now at 18K. Mayor Scarcella said,” Over the next year and a half, these proposing ideas will take us to 2040. The purpose of this meeting is to hear from you.”
Dan Sefco with Freese and Nichols, the engineering firm conducting the development plan, spoke of establishing new ideas and goals for the City. Long range plans will include recommendations for land use, parks, community livability, infrastructure, development standards and transportation. It is meant to enhance and protect property rights, not to be a rigid, inflexible document. At this time the study is still in Phase 1 – establishing vision, goals and objectives. Phase 2 will have formal plan recommendations, and Phase 3 will involve implementation actions.
The meeting was well attended by community members and after these brief introductions by the Mayor, and Freese and Nichols, the audience was asked to participate in a live, anonymous survey with remote voting devices. They were shown pictures in groups of six, and within each group, a question was asked to determine opinions. Five possible answers, ranging between strongly agree and strongly disagree, on topics about residential build-outs, outside amenities, appealing building materials, types of commercial development, and Stafford’s best qualities were asked.
The floor was then opened to the public to share their views. Concerns such as infrastructure of sidewalks and streets, and determining the core values of the residents, such as how they rate family togetherness and living debt free, were mentioned. The issue of preserving and enhancing the City’s Island by adding “little shops” was brought up, and one parent spoke of her “great concern” over the future of education at SMSD. The comprehensive development plan is expected to be completed by April 2015. Go to cityofstafford.com to participate in the survey. This survey is on-line (and available on-paper) for more community members to participate in until the end of April.
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