The Nelson City Council started to flesh out its comprehensive plan last night during a called work session.
The Nelson plan will eventually be a part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan, which will include the comprehensive plans of the other cities in the county. The state requires counties to develop and update comprehensive plans in order to receive funding from the state.
City Clerk and Manager Brandy Edwards guided the discussion, handing out an information packet to Mayor Mike Haviland and each board member. The packet included the previous short term work program, accomplishments from the program and a chart for the new short term work program. All projects on the 2008-2012 accomplishment list were postponed, dropped or on-going. Over the course of the work session, council unofficially agreed to move most projects to the new five-year plan, ranging from 2013 to 2017, while others were dropped. According to the discussion, Nelson will request the county to move the dropped projects to its plan. One case in particular is the recommendation for Pickens County to stripe Pickens Street from Nelson City Limits, east on Pickens Street to Head Start Road.
“I feel like if we leave this in there,”
“We’re telling them (Pickens County), ‘Hey, we’ll give you some money to do this.’ This needs to be in their CIP (Capital Improvement Plan), not our work community program.”
Some projects were moved to 2014 and beyond, but several were scheduled for the 2013 calendar, such as completing a website to promote and market the City of Nelson, and meeting with Lafarge and CW Matthews Company to discuss annexation of quarries and processing plants. Mayor Haviland commented that meeting with local businesses was a routine economic development practice.
“You’re trying to make sure that the businesses you already have in your community don’t have problems or issues that the city might be able to help with,”
One project slated for 2013 deals with Nelson’s narrow streets. According to the chart description, this project requires council to review the feasibility of converting all narrow streets that do not meet minimum widths for two lane traffic to be signed as one-way streets. During the discussion at least three such streets were identified: Church Street, Hillside Street and South Martin Street. Haviland said council ought to review the entire city to identify narrow streets and sign them as one-way streets.
“People on Church Street actually want to have this done,”
Mayor Haviland said the next step in the process is to participate in a joint meeting with the county and other cities. He expected a meeting to be held this week, but noted it never came to pass. The next joint meeting, he said, is scheduled for February twenty-eighth. The mayor also mentioned a meeting for public participation on the plan, but could not confirm a date and time for the event. Haviland stressed that council did not make any official decisions during the work session.
During the session, council also discussed its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). According to Edwards, 13 items have already expired, such as two of the city’s sanitation trucks and a series of paving projects, while others are within the capital improvement plan for 2013 to 2018, including city hall improvements and municipal code software updates. The only item expiring this year is the 2008 Crown Victoria Public Safety Vehicle, the purchase price of which was $33,194. Since this is a public safety item, its replacement can be purchased with SPLOST money.
At the end of the meeting, council discussed its strategic management plan. Council Member Jonathan Bishop said he didn’t think Nelson would ever be a thriving businesses community, saying Nelson should focus on the development of its parks projects, cleanliness, and public safety. Other council members agreed.
“I think our key stakeholders would be families and the few businesses we have,”