Orchard City master plan retains 'live and let live'
By Hank Lohmeyer
Published Thursday, September 15, 2016 9:13 am
Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Orchard City's rural setting and community character are important values to residents and ones the newly revised Master Plan emphasizes for the future.
Though the Orchard City Master Plan is set to be reissued in a new and updated version, the community's old-fashioned values of "live and let live" expressed in the original 2005 plan are restated in the proposed 2016 revision.
"Orchard City has adopted a land use philosophy of 'live and let live' that does not include zoning regulations," states part of the community's vision plan.
The community's vision statement in the revised Master Plan goes on to explain, "Orchard City residents are willing to tolerate land use conflicts in order to minimize local government intrusion on the community's lifestyle."
Perhaps it is in keeping with that view of minimizing governmental intrusions into private matters that the 54-page 2005 Master Plan has actually been trimmed by almost one-third to a nifty 38 pages in the new 2016 version.
The town trustees are scheduled to hold a public hearing on the new Master Plan and consider it for official adoption at their Sept. 14 meeting beginning at 7 p.m.
The town's first master plan ever was written during the heady days of the housing boom in 2005. At that time, town residents expressed strong sentiments that Orchard City's rural character and lifestyle not be lost to the engines of economic development, real estate speculation and subdivision sprawl. Adoption of the town's first Master Plan occurred against a backdrop of other town policy changes related to rapid residential growth.
The new Master Plan has been updated with current demographic and statistical information, and it has been dressed up with the addition of color photographs and illustrations. On balance, the document is Orchard City presenting itself to the rest of the world.
The master plan is not a regulation, nor does it impose regulations. In the section titled, "Purpose of the Plan" the reasons for its existence are stated:
"The Orchard City Master Plan is a resource and a tool to be used by citizens and their elected/appointed officials to help their decision making on matters of land use and future town growth. This Master Plan is not a legislative document. It is not a zoning ordinance and it does not impose new land use regulations. It is a framework for informed decision-making that will help guide growth in a manner that maintains quality of life, protects community values and helps Orchard City prepare for the future. It is intended to provide information and guidelines that clearly reflect town priorities while allowing some flexibility and interpretation."