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Leland Looks To The Future

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Feb 5, 2021
A town of Leland map shows the area involved in the Leland 2045 plan. (Image c/o Town of Leland)
Officials are developing the Leland 2045 plan, the largest long-range planning project ever tackled by the town, organizers said.
 
The most recent effort was the Leland Master Plan update, which only had a planning horizon of five years, said Ben Andrea, Leland’s planning and inspections director.
 
From an economic development perspective, he said, the plans are important in helping to develop overall business, industry and jobs as well as support services for current and future residents.
 
Based on projections, Leland is estimated to reach a population of about 75,000 by 2045, Andrea said, adding, “and so we’re using that as a benchmark as we’re planning our housing needs and how we’re going to grow from a residential perspective.”
 
The town has partnered with Design Workshop, a Colorado-based consulting firm, to create the Leland 2045 plan, a project that will map out the town’s growth, development and redevelopment.
 
A variety of elements are being incorporated, from looking at the town’s future housing and transportation needs to enhancing the town’s historic preservation.
 
“Housing is an important topic,” Andrea said. “Affordable housing and workforce housing are buzz words that we hear quite often. So, we want to take a look at what our housing trends have been and … also the change in demographics with the aging population and also younger families. We’re trying to provide housing options that can accommodate people with a wide range of needs but also people in different periods of their life and different family structures.”
 
The plan might also incorporate some recommendations on how Leland can be creative about economic development.
 
“Looking back at the Innovation Zoning District that we created last year, that’s an idea of how we can encourage economic development and economic growth through landuse regulation and do it in a way that balances the need for places for businesses and industry to grow while not impairing the quality of life of adjacent neighborhoods or existing residents,” Andrea said.
 
Although there are not yet any specifics on business and industrial growth or other land-use options that are part of the plan at this time, Andrea said the town wants to look for strategies to grow as a regional hub for business.
 
Town officials aim to have council consider adopting the finished plan by the end of the year. Overall, a lot of work has already been done by the town in looking at the different aspects of the plan, but public input is also being sought, Andrea said.
 
Details about the project can be found on the website Leland2045.com.
 
The town is providing multiple avenues for community involvement, including online surveys and virtual input sessions. A survey conducted in January at the town’s first virtual public workshop, which had about 70 participants, showed that economic development and the challenges that come with it were important areas of focus.
 
“Economic development and job growth and how a community develops go hand-in-hand. The focus of a land-use plan is really to set the vision for how communities should develop. And when employers and industry folks are looking at places to relocate or to build their business, they want to look at the quality of life for their employees,” Andrea said.
 
“And so, in the creation of a plan like this, we are trying to create great communities and great places for people to live and have families and just have a high quality of life,” he said. “So that in itself can result in attracting businesses and industry to locate to the area to take advantage of that quality of life and the communities that we anticipate this plan will envision.”
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