On Monday, May 16,, the Milford Planning Commission began the process of updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan which is required every ten years. The Planning Commission is responsible for updating the plan and presenting the final version to City Council. The plan was last updated in 2008, which means it must be updated by 2018. Mr. Pierce explained that the city was planning to bring in a consultant to help with the plan, but that he wanted bring items in the plan to the attention of the commissioners.
“I want to go through the goals and objectives in the 2008 plan so that we can cross off the goals we have met and decide which ones we want to keep, amend or discard for the 2018 plan,” Mr. Pierce said. During the meeting, he read each goal set in 2008, pointing out which ones had been achieved, those that had been partially achieved and those that still had not been met.
Commissioner Sara Pletcher asked if the commission needed to create all new goals or if some could remain as they were. Mr. Pierce explained that the commission could simply remove the goals that had been met, create new goals for the plan or leave them as they were currently written. He also explained that surveys would be sent to the public and public workshops would be held during the update process. He expected it to take 12 to 18 months to complete with the commission working on it each month throughout the fall.
“There is the possibility we will need to do as we did last time and hold meetings elsewhere, such as the fire hall, in order to accommodate enough people to discuss the plan,” Mr. Pierce said. Commissioner Ed Holloway asked if improvements to roadways could be included in the plan, stating that one of the biggest complaints he heard from citizens was the condition of roads in the city, especially Airport Road. Mr. Pierce said that it could be included as a goal in the updated plan.
“I would like to see each goal connected to a possible funding source,” Commissioner Michael Yosifon said. “We will have goals with competing channels of funding that have finite resources. We can’t be tapping into the same resources over and over. If we link to a funding source, whether it is tax-based or another type, could help us keep on track with those goals.” Mr. Pierce explained that it was possible that some of the goals created may not be attainable immediately and that some may need to be looked at as long-term goals that will carry forward throughout new versions of the plan. He said that there would be many that have no need for resources at all. Commissioner Yosifon said that he understood that, but when a funding source was clearly needed, he would like to see it mentioned. Mr. Pierce reminded the commission that the city determined which goals included it he Comprehensive Plan would be a priority.
Chairman Marvin Sharp mentioned that growth in the city was affecting the fire service, EMS and police. He mentioned that the average age of Milford residents was rising as more retirees find Milford a good place to retire.
“As you age, you need more services like ambulances and EMS,” Chairman Sharp said. “I would like us to work more closely with the fire company and police when we create the goals as it directly affects them.” Mr. Pierce said that the city reaches out to the fire company and other organizations that may be affected by growth, noting that growth also affects the school district and other city services as well. Commissioner Andrew Fulton said that with the building of a new hospital, Milford will see significant growth over the next ten years, but that he expected to see an increase in renters who may not be interested in purchasing property immediately. He said that this should also be addressed in the plan. Other suggestions were the addition of mass transit as there was currently no public transportation available in the Milford area. With growth, many of the commissioners felt that the lack of public transportation could become a significant problem in the area, especially with the hospital no longer in walking distance for a majority of the city.
Discussion on updates to the Comprehensive Plan will continue for the next 12 to 18 months and the city encourages all city residents to review the plan, which is posted on the city website, and provide any feedback or input as the Planning Commission works to update the plan.
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