Speakers at a hearing in Garner last week asked the town council to consider how the town’s new comprehensive plan might change development goals for the area around Auburn-Knightdale Road before they approved a subdivision plan for the area. Implicit in that request was the suggestion that the town ought not to act on the request until after the town’s comprehensive planning process is complete.
While we understand the logic behind that request, we also realize it’s not practical to simply put the brakes on all development in a region over the course of 12 to 18 months while a new plan is created.
The truth is, the town of Garner already has a comprehensive land use plan that takes all these areas into account. And, while there are sure to be changes in an updated plan, its also not likely that land uses will be turned completely upside down. That is to say an area now targeted for residential growth isn’t likely to suddenly be designated for manufacturing uses. Whatever changes come from the new plan will most likely be modest in nature.
The plans for the completion of N.C. 540 around Garner will likely also change the nature of growth and development in the area. The town of Garner already has its eye on one area near where the proposed highway edges close to Auburn-Knightdale Road as a good location for commercial development.
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As often happens when large new highways are constructed, the nature of land use plans are disrupted. Residents who live in close proximity to that new roadway can expect development pressure of all kinds to ratchet up in the next few years. And if, as one person said at a public hearing last month, the nature of the area changes too much, people will find it necessary to leave that area and seek their rural experiences elsewhere.
As one wise person told us, the only way to guarantee that development won’t occur in an area is to buy up all the land yourself. Otherwise, all bets are off.
Garner council members weren’t dismissive of the residents concerns when they OK’d the proposed development plan, but they do understand that the town of Garner can’t afford not to grow. And the areas east and south of Garner are prime locations to see our town grow.