Stanford discusses update of comprehensive plan

Published 9:00 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

STANFORD — Planning and Zoning Commissioners were on hand during the Stanford City Council’s March 12 special-called meeting to discuss the city’s comprehensive plan.

By law, the comprehensive plan is supposed to be updated every five years. Last year, the plan was renewed with minor changes as more changes were expected to be made following the release of the 2020 Census data.

“Our comprehensive plan…I don’t know when it was established, but in the same token, it hasn’t changed that much,” said City Council member Ronnie Deatherage. “Our infrastructure hasn’t changed, we haven’t added new roads, we haven’t done a lot of new things to warrant spending $20,000 just so we can have an updated comprehensive plan.”

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Stanford attempted to get grant funding last year to help cover the cost of updating the city’s ordinances and comprehensive plan but did not receive the grant.

Deatherage said the city can do what it did last fall and make minor necessary changes.

“That’s what is suggested, that you just keep up with it. So as things change, you change your comprehensive plan,” said Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jim Jarrett.

Deatherage said the state requires the plan to be updated every five years but if the city updates it annually, by the time the five-year period rolls around, the plan is already updated.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Larry Nunemaker suggested updating the plan with any zoning and annexation ordinances that the city passes each year.

“As the council passes things that have something to do with zoning or city ordinance, or things like that…if you do that periodically, like Ronnie (Deatherage) said, then that counts for the every five years. But, right now, there’s nothing about the new annexations,” Nunemaker said.

City Attorney John Hackley said the comprehensive plan uses general language that is broad enough to cover future annexations.

Jarrett said the difference is in the population numbers and demographics.

“That’s why, when we talked about it last year and renewed it, we were waiting on the 2020 census, because there has been a population increase, not very much, but there has been some. The subdivision out behind the grade school is not in the comprehensive plan,” Jarrett said. “But if you keep up with it on an annual basis it’s not a problem.”
The plan can’t be changed arbitrarily, Jarrett said.

“You have to look at demographics, you have to look at population, you have to look at any parks that have been added, any transportation that has been added, health and welfare of the community, and all that. There’s a lot of things you have to look at,” he said.

Deatherage agreed the plan should be updated annually, to avoid having to do a large-scale update like last year.

“It’s like that thing, ‘I can do three things this year or 15 things three years from now,'” he said. “Let’s do it now.”