Garner Cleveland Record

Garner hires consultant to help with comprehensive growth and transportation plans

The town will use a consulting firm to help update both its comprehensive growth and transportation plans.

The town recently selected Stantec & Wooten Company among four final firms. This is the first time the town has worked with Stantec.

It will cost the town $155,000 over the time the company provides services to the town.

The comprehensive growth plans help shape future growth in Garner. The town is currently looking at potential places for future development that they had not considered previously, council member Buck Kennedy said.

Those areas are around U.S. 401, south of Garner and to Rock Quarry Road.

“We will start with analyzing what’s in place, policies we do have, anticipated growth plan, and consider areas beyond our current ETJ, and how those areas will be best suited for development,” Kennedy said.

The public will also be involved in the process. The town will hold workshops to get input from the public on how they would like to see Garner grow.

One of the biggest goals of the town has been to find ways to increase residential growth, which has lagged behind other areas in Wake County, particularly the western and northern part of the county.

A couple of ways they have done that are by changing its water allocation policy to make it more enticing for developers, and the town has urged the school board to allocate more resources to its schools which have struggled. Many say the low test scores in Garner schools has a had a direct correlation in residential growth in Garner.

But growth in Garner’s residential housing may soon change however, when the southern leg of N.C. 540 is finally built. The N.C. Department of Transportation recently selected the Orange Route as the preferred route through Garner, but a final decision is likely to be a long way away.

Environmental organizations have challenged DOT’s pick, saying that it will affect too many wetlands and an endangered Dwarf wedgemussel species.

The comprehensive growth plan, which was last adopted in 2006, also provides the basic structure for generating private investments, making land development and zoning decisions and implementing public improvements.

Since then, Garner has changed significantly and an update was needed.

It will also provide a long-range vision for development to guide the town’s growth for the next 10 to 15 years.

The transportation plan, adopted in 2010, will examine existing conditions and provide specific recommendations for travel, including roadways, public transportation, walking and cycling.

The consultant’s work is expected to be done over the next year and will finish up in the spring of 2017. The $155,000 it will cost will be paid out over two budget years. The amount of $75,000 is available through June 30. Then $80,000 will be paid after June 30.

“I think we were fortunate to have four very good companies in the final four,” council member Ken Marshburn said. “The process was thorough to select the final one and I’m confident Stantec will do an outstanding job.”

The project will kick off in April.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @GarnerCleveland