Dear mayor and council members:
We understand that the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) is used by the Village council and the planning board when making decisions that will impact the Village of Flat Rock. Because of this, it is important that the CLUP reflect the most accurate data so that the council and the board can make the most appropriate decisions.
Unfortunately, as the Cultural Landscape Group:Flat Rock has discovered in looking carefully at the CLUP, this is not the case.
One of the fundamental pieces of information needed to make best decisions is the rate of population growth, which affects everything from housing to recreation to transportation needs. The population projections in the CLUP, relying on Henderson County planning department numbers, are greatly over-estimated.
The Henderson County planning department projected a 2020 estimated population for the village of 4,189, a ten-year growth rate of 34.5%. Using the more accurate projections from the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), the 2020 estimated population for the village is 3,451, a ten-year growth rate of 10.8%.
The CLUP is relying on projections that over-estimate by almost 220% the village’s population growth.
In addition, the CLUP, developed in 2013, was created with little citizen input since the last village-wide survey covering a variety of issues was done in 2004.
We can see this in the Transportation section of the CLUP. It states in part, “While most of the focus on transportation within the Village has been on moving automobiles, there is increasing demand and need for a transportation network that addresses the needs of cyclists and pedestrians as well.” But there is no indication in the CLUP of where this “increasing demand” or “need” comes from.
It does not come from the 2004 survey, where respondents were split 50/50 on more sidewalks, trails, and pathways, and were opposed to bike lanes by 52%. That same survey showed that residents were most concerned about preserving the visual quality of roads in the village. There has been no community-wide survey since then that has addressed these issues.
Decisions on matters that will fundamentally alter the village deserve input from the entire community. The Cultural Landscape Group:Flat Rock is asking the village council to conduct a survey of the Flat Rock community this year so all citizens will have a chance to express their preferences on these important issues.
We look forward to hearing from you on this.
Cultural Landscape Group:Flat Rock
cc: Flat Rock planning board