Poquoson to gather thoughts on city's future in survey

Contact Reporterjoreyes@dailypress.com
Poquoson to receive thoughts on city's future in survey

A citywide survey to be sent out Wednesday will ask Poquoson residents their thoughts on the city's future and some hot topics — such as development, flooding and a "small town atmosphere" — to guide the process of updating Poquoson's comprehensive plan.

The plan is an advisory document for the city to consult as it makes decisions on development, land use and resource management. Anjie Emmett, a member of the team that wrote the survey, said it lets people weigh in on "hopes, opportunities, threats and concerns" that other people in the city have identified.

Debbie Vest, director of community development, said people should expect them in the mail within the week. Responses to the survey will be collected, quantified and presented to the City Council in July.

The process of creating the survey began about a year ago when the City Council formed the Community Participation Team to involve more people in the city in the plan update process. The team, made up of 12 volunteers, held meetings and spoke to people at community events to gather their thoughts on the city. Those thoughts were used to develop the questions in the survey, Emmett said. She added that the city hired a consultant from the Virginia Tech Land Use Education Program to help.

A draft of the survey presented to the planning commission asked about the types of businesses and housing people would like to see and about development in flood-susceptible areas and how the city should buffer against flooding.

Some of the questions referenced specific areas, such as Messick Point, to see if people want more commercial activity in those places. One question asked people to rank nine possible uses for the city's Big Woods land on Victory Boulevard, and another asked them to rank the importance of aspects of a "small town atmosphere."

The city did not send the final version of the survey to the Daily Press before press time.

At recent City Council and planning commission meetings, people have talked about waiting for the results of the survey before making decisions or forming opinions. A member of the planning commission said she would like to hold off on recommending rezoning of a parcel in the city's Big Woods area to see what people say in the survey. At a May 22 City Council meeting, the council voted to postpone until July a resolution that would specify development possibilities for that land.

The survey was a source of tension at the May 22 City Council meeting, during which Mayor Eugene Hunt said he was reluctant to postpone the Big Woods resolution in anticipation of the survey because the survey took a year to put together. Members of the participation team said they made the survey without any guidance on when it should be done. The council voted 6-1 to postpone the resolution.

Reyes can be reached by phone at 757-247-4692.

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