ABILENE, Texas (KTBAB/KRBC) – It’s been 16 years since the City of Abilene created a roadmap for local ordinances and guidelines, but they have begun the process of creating what they call a “comprehensive plan.”
“I like blueprint better,” said Cheryl Sawyers, planning services director for the City of Abilene. “The comprehensive plan is a future policy document basically it shapes the future landscape of the City of Abilene.”
The plan creates an outline for building codes as well as local ordinances including bike paths, the size of crosswalks, and disability access around town. It covers almost anything that includes Abilene citizens.
“‘How wide is the street? How far set does my house have to be?’ That all is a part of this process,” said Sawyers.
So, if someone wants to build something, there’s a basic guideline that applies to everyone.
Back in 2004, the City of Abilene adopted a new plan for how the city ordinances would function.
“We really didn’t follow through with an implementation strategy like we are going to now,” Sawyers says.
So, flash forward 16 years and the city is ready for a new one as Abilene continues to grow and prosper.
“The last document that we have is outdated enough to where, right now, the growth of Abilene in the south and outside the loop does not have any guiding principles for us to back up our decisions with,” said Sawyers.
And the committee is encouraging the citizens to get involved, like Scott Senter, an Abilene businessman who participated back in 2004 and will be helping again this year.
“A bureaucrat isn’t out in the public doing the items that the commercial real-estate people are, or developers are dealing with, and they need that input and that chance, and I appreciate the city giving me the chance to have something to say,” said Senter.
To get local participation, the committee hosted a bus tour around Abilene with local leaders and the consultants who are helping them.
“This is a process that we really need the public involved in. This is the community’s priorities shaped in a document,” said Sawyers.
The comprehensive plan is in its preliminary stages and is expected to be adopted in December of 2021 to last through 2040.
Sawyers says the committee will be coming out with a website for Abilene citizens to give input and track the plan’s progress.
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