Frankford is set to begin the process of updating the Town’s comprehensive plan, which will serve as the blueprint for the Town’s development and decision-making for the next 10 years, as well as giving the town an updated picture of itself.
The town’s Planning & Zoning Commission met on Wednesday, March 6, to consider an application from Mountaire Farms to make some changes at its feed plant in town, altering the layout of its parking areas and making other minor changes on the property.
Consulting engineer Kyle Gulbronson of AECom said the Mountaire changes amounted to site improvements, removal of a house on the property and reorganization of parking. As a condition of the approval, Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Duane Beck asked that the entrance and exit to the property be placed on different sides, so as to improve traffic flow in the lots.
Frankford is about a year behind in the State-mandated cycle of updating comprehensive plans every 10 years. Gulbronson said the Town shouldn’t face any penalties over the delay because they are embarking on the update process now. He told the commission members that the state planning office is less stringent with towns having less than 2,000 residents; Frankford’s population is about half that.
He said that the update shouldn’t be particularly complicated because “you haven’t seen a lot of growth pressures,” adding that the Town’s struggles with infrastructure — mostly its water plant and providing police coverage — have been its major focus in the past few years.
That contrasts with the issues addressed in the last comprehensive plan, completed in 2008, Gulbronson said.
“Whoever did that plan in 2008 thought Frankford was going to take on the world,” he said.
He suggested that the Town apply for a “pre-PLUS” (Preliminary Land Use Service) meeting. State planners will review the information supplied by the Town “and then they’ll tell us what we need to do,” Gulbronson said. By going through that process, he said, “that way they’ll know we’re making progress.”
Finding a way to complete the comprehensive plan for the perennially cash-strapped Town will be a challenge, Gulbronson told the commission, because the state planning office doesn’t provide funding for it any more.
He suggested the Town reach out to area colleges to see if they might have a student looking for an internship opportunity. However, colleges are no longer providing towns with free help on their comprehensive plans, Gulbronson said.
In the meantime, Gulbronson suggested planning commission members go through the existing plan and “come up with suggestions” for how it might need to be updated. He also suggested that the commission fine-tune the terms served by the commission members, to ensure continuity of the board.
By Kerin Magill