The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

September 12, 2013

Town looks to the future

By Brandi Underwood
Register-Herald Reporter

FAYETTEVILLE — “We’re in motion,” said Fayetteville Mayor James Akers.

With the pending school consolidation and a new comprehensive plan in the works, one of the “coolest small towns” is soon to be facing many changes.

More than 40 community members attended a public open house Monday evening.

Students and staff from the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law, in conjunction with the Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Committee, presented a set of five goals for the town’s future at the open house. The goals were accompanied by a selection of objectives that the public was able to review and select which they deemed to be the highest priority.

When West Virginia passed a law in 2004 that required every local government to have a comprehensive plan by June 11, 2014, Akers begin to search for a suitable match to create Fayetteville’s plan.

“We were trying to find the most affordable way to do it, and every time we checked into a comprehensive lawyer situation we were getting into big money,” Akers said. “When this opportunity with WVU came along I said, ‘Whoa, let’s do this.’ It’s been great so far and it’s also been a great learning tool for the students.”

Jesse Richardson, lead land use attorney with the clinic, said the plan has been in the works for more than a year now and has employed the efforts of four attorneys, more than a dozen law school students and one land use planner.

“If everything goes as planned, Fayetteville will adopt a comprehensive plan in early 2014,” he said. “The comprehensive plan is what guides zoning, subdivision and any land use ordinances.

“The comprehensive plan is a vision of the future for the town,” he said.

Projects include ideas like developing a stronger branding effort, a streetscape project to improve the aesthetics of the downtown area, enacting vacant structure ordinances and revising parking regulations.

American Institute Certified Land Use Planner Christy DeMuth has been overseeing the project for the last year.

She explained the plan has involved a three-step process, including a research portion, a needs assessment, and is currently in the third phase: the action plan.

“What we’re trying to find out tonight is what the public believes to be the high-priority projects. The will allow us to prioritize the action plan,” DeMuth said. “We want to concentrate on five or six priority projects the town can tackle hands-on.”

Anyone who missed Monday’s meeting who would like to learn more about the Town of Fayetteville Comprehensive Plan is invited to attend the Sept. 23 Planning and Zoning Board meeting at Fayetteville Town Hall, where the results of Monday’s open house public polling will be discussed.

The public comment period will begin Sept. 30 when the full comprehensive plan becomes available. It can be accessed online at www.fayettevilleplan.wordpress.com and hard copies will be available at Fayetteville Town Hall.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com