Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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Graham, NC 27253
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Haw River will fork out $30k for state-required land-use plan

Following a change to a state statute in July, the town of Haw River is required to draw up and adopt a comprehensive land-use plan by July 2022, a process that will cost the town just over $30,000.

Not coming up with the plan by the deadline would have major consequences for the town, with the municipality being stripped of its right to zone and rezone properties, according to the statute.

“The big picture is: if we’re going to keep zoning, we’ve got to have this,” council member Steve Lineberry said when the item was brought before the board Monday. “Because if we don’t have this, we can’t enforce our zoning.”

The statute, which applies to the state’s counties and municipalities, was originally suggested by the state’s bar association, town manager Sean Tencer explained, which sought to have consistency in land-use regulations statewide. Included in that mission, Tencer explained, was the requirement of a land-use plan.

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At its monthly meeting this week, the council looked over two companies’ proposals for drawing up the plan. Ultimately, the council decided on Kannapolis, N.C.-based N-Focus, which put in a bid for $30,750.

Though the town received a price of $30,250 from the Kernersville-based Piedmont Triad Regional Council, the council determined that N-Focus’ proposal seemed more thorough and cost effective in the long-term.

In its pitch to the council, N-Focus gave a timeline of eight to nine months for the entire process of research and drafting the plan.

As far as covering the cost of the process, Tencer explained that the company has agreed to let the town pay half of the bill in this fiscal year and the remaining half in the next. Still, the town manager said, the funds for the first payment will need to be drawn from the town’s fund balance, which functions as the municipality’s long-term savings account.

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