Editorial/Op

Excellent Job Mayor Shelton

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CENTRAL FIRST BLUEb larger    No, really. I mean it. Mayor Shelton promised to “make this city grow” and he is executing a well-orchestrated plan to make that happen. I disagree with the premise of his plan, I believe it is contrary to the will of this community as expressed in the Master Plan, and I do not believe it will preserve the type of community that people stayed in Central or came to Central to enjoy, but I admit that Mayor Shelton is executing his plan well. Here is how I see the plan working:
    Starting with the goal of making Central grow (and faster than it was already growing) the first step in the plan would be to repeat the mantra “If a city is not growing, it’s dying,” while ignoring the fact that Central HAS BEEN growing for decades. I’ve heard that growing/dying mantra numerous times, but I look around at the commercial and residential development, the traffic, and the school overcrowding and it is obvious that Central has been growing for 30 years or more.
    The next big obstacle is the Master Plan. There is little argument that the Master Plan is very controlling of growth, and that it preserves much of the rural property, and that it intentionally limits commercial growth to specific areas. It would be hard to “make this city grow (faster)” under this Master Plan. So, the Mayor and Council are spending $70,000 to “update” the Master Plan. You will hear people say that I am jumping to conclusions, and that the “update” could actually make development more restrictive. Just watch. I’ll gladly issue a retraction to this if that happens.
    Another obstacle is that according to the consultant hired to “update” the Master Plan, his work will probably take a year. But, the Mayor has asked for a preliminary report in six months, so he will provide that. So the one-year delay in changing the Master Plan to “make this city grow” has been cut to six months.
    But, six months is still a long time to wait, so Tuesday the Mayor and Council invented the “Master Plan Context Analysis” report, to be created by the Mayor’s office for each proposed development. For the six months leading up to the preliminary Master Plan “update,” this new report will allow the consultant hired by Mayor Shelton to recommend approval of rezoning that is contrary to the current Master Plan.  
    And can someone answer this question for me? We have been promised that the Master Plan will only be changed after significant opportunity for public input. Won’t these Master Plan Context Analysis reports, done with no public input, effectively allow changes to the Master Plan with ZERO input from the citizens of this city?
    This plan is lawful, and is a good plan… if accelerated growth of a community with drainage, traffic, and school overcrowding problems is a good idea. I just don’t believe it is, but hats off to the Mayor for executing his plan. That’s the way I see it.

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