A vital part of the Comprehensive Land Use Planning process, the visioning meeting is the first time the public gets to share their ideas with the team and describe what’s on their wish list for their town. It’s not a step that can be skipped in a successful effort.
Enter the Realtor® Party Smart Growth Action Grant and the expertise of Ellen Sither, a local real estate broker and Haywood Realtor Association Government Affairs Co-Chair, and Jackie Turner, a certified planner with Stewart who has experience in writing grant applications. Thanks to their efforts, the Town of Waynesville was able to win a grant and put on a successful visioning meeting.
Sither and Turner, supported by Development Services Director, Elizabeth Teague, crafted the grant application, with Sither doing much of the writing, and Turner adding her knowledge of how the visioning workshop should be structured and the necessary materials to make it a success. The Town was thrilled to be awarded a $5,000 grant to help put on the public workshop, and it turns out, the generosity of the Realtors didn’t stop there.
Haywood Realtor® Association members, about 15 in all, volunteered their time to help the consultant team staff the stations at the meeting as well. Turner facilitated a training session in the morning for the Realtors to get up to speed on the Town’s Land Use Plan and how they would be part of the process interacting with the public. In the afternoon and evening, Realtors participated in the visioning workshop, talking with members of the community, and soliciting input. The extra hands assisting the team were crucial in allowing the residents to share their thoughts in a meaningful way, including a popular sketching station that kept some residents busy for an hour drawing their ideas and concepts for their community.
Thanks to a true community effort, with input from Jackie Turner and members of the Stewart team, the Town of Waynesville was able to make great use of the Smart Growth Action Grant, ensuring the residents of Waynesville can have their say in the Land Use Plan Update process.