Town council considers updating comprehensive plan

Published 8:31 pm Thursday, April 9, 2020

By Diana McFarland

It’s time for the Town of Smithfield to review and update its comprehensive plan and the Town Council is looking to hire an outside consultant for the job. 

The town had received several bids, but is eyeing Summit Design and Engineering Services out of Richmond, according to Community Development and Planning Director John Settle. 

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“The candidate is a known commodity to the town,” said Settle, adding that the firm has worked on several town projects, such as the Pinewood relocation. 

The cost for the consultant is estimated at $54,500, according to Settle.  

The decision to hire a consultant was due to staffing issues with the town, as it is a large and complicated undertaking, said Smithfield interim Town Manager Sanford “Sandy” Wanner. 

Wanner told the Town Council at a recent finance committee meeting that the comprehensive plan was a way for the town to set a 20-year vision. 

The last time it was revised was 2009, so the town is behind the curve when it comes to state requirements, which call for a review every five years, Wanner said. 

The town looked at the plan in 2014 and it was determined that there wasn’t enough staff to undertake the project at that time, he said. 

The process to overhaul the town’s comprehensive plan will be similar to that used by Isle of Wight County, which recently completed updated its plan. 

Wanner said the update will likely take 13 months and include resident participation, as well as other groups that may be interested. 

The update will likely begin in July, which is the beginning of the next fiscal year, said Settle.