Last week, Route 3 steering committee members further defined their vision for the upcoming charette which will clarify the county vision for upcoming economic development in eastern Orange County.
A charette, as discussed in November during a joint meeting of supervisors, planning commission and Economic Development Authority (EDA) members, is a collaborative planning process that utilizes the talents and expertise of interested parties to create and support a vision or direction that represents significant community change. In addition to representatives from the three boards, the charette will also bring together key stakeholders such as chamber of commerce members, landowners, homeowners’ associations and more to work with a panel of experts to refine further the development vision for the Rt. 3 area.
Originally planned for February, the charette will now be held over two days in early March and will yield a big-picture, high-level view of the vision for Rt. 3.
“This [will yield] an extremely high-level [look],” Faith McClintic of Spectrum Growth Solutions said. McClintic is in charge of organizing the charette.
She said the charette will focus on aligning the vision for Rt. 3 with viability in terms of land uses and what the market will support, keeping in mind typography, environmental and financial constraints.
“The goal [is to] help build a diversified tax base and create sustainable jobs,” she said. “We want things that will last, not fads.
“The panel can take your vision [for the area] and either nix it, validate it or [substantiate] it,” she added. “A lot times what you want and what you can do, don’t match.”
The panel likely will consist of a residential developer, a mixed-use developer, a real estate consultant to provide market assessments and an educational developer. They will focus on questions chosen by steering committee members in several categories, including market potential, planning and design, development strategies and implementation. The exact questions are still being narrowed down and will be sent to McClintic once finished.
Following the charette process, McClintic said the steering committee will know what’s already available in the Rt. 3 corridor, but also what’s needed and how to get there.
“I have constituents that have asked for a hotel in that area,” District 5 Supervisor Lee Frame said. “I’m not sure if that’s viable down there. After the charette has given what’s feasible, we can say ‘yes, you [could] do that’ or ‘no, you [couldn’t] do that.’”
Once the charette is completed, the results will be used to help create a small area plan, which focuses more on land uses. The plan is a requirement of the recently adopted comprehensive plan and will be adopted in a similar fashion with opportunities for public input. The small area plan will then feed into a master plan for the area.
“The details will come in the master plan,” McClintic said.
District 2 Supervisor Jim White said it’s important for people to realize that the charette isn’t going to yield a “big, pretty map you can show to the public as to where everything [will go].” He said that will come in the master plan phase of the process.
Interim county administrator Bryan David praised the steering committee for its forward-thinking in organizing a charette saying it allows for the “highest level of success.”
Frame suggested releasing the results of the by-invitation only charette shortly after the process is completed to allow for public input.
“I’ve been asked how to participate in the charette,” he said. “It’s important for people to know this doesn’t close the door. It gives guidance as to what is feasible. Once we know, we can take it to the public.”
The committee agreed to have a public presentation on the charette results approximately one week after the process is concluded. The charette is scheduled for March 2-4 and will kick-off with an evening reception for invited guests.