Windsor Planning OKs strategic plan

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Windsor’s Planning Commission voted 5-0 with two absent Jan. 27 in support of the town’s draft strategic plan.

Titled “Focus on the Future,” the document lists a total of 16 steps, or “action items” as they are called, to “provide stability and growth” and “assure the Town is a place that people want to live, work and play.”

Windsor’s Town Council began working on the plan in early 2019 after an October 2018 report by former planning and zoning administrator Ben Sullivan had concluded Windsor’s share of Western Tidewater’s total population and economy had shrunk significantly and would likely continue to do so through 2023 unless the town found new ways of attracting younger people and their dollars.

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Windsor’s Town Council debuted the document at a joint meeting with the Planning Commission Dec. 8, but asked the commissioners to further review the matter at its January meeting, as some of the action items, such as developing a master plan for properties along Route 460 and the surrounding area, would involve making changes to the town’s comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan, Town Manager William Saunders previously explained, guides land use decisions and therefore falls under the commission’s purview, while the strategic plan is “a creature of Town Council” used as a guide for a broader range of decisions, some of which involve the expenditure of town tax dollars.

Developing master plans for infrastructure and Route 460, and revising the town’s zoning ordinance to allow for higher-density housing, are among the first three action items in the strategic plan.

“We tried to get the things that were a higher priority at the beginning of the list,” said Mayor Glyn Willis.

Further down on the list are increasing the town’s bike and pedestrian access and beautifying the Route 460 corridor.

With the commission’s vote now on record, the matter will head back to Town Council in February for a final vote.