Sherwood, a great place to live, let's keep it that way
Our success did not happen by accident. The current Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 1991 laid the groundwork to manage growth. That plan was developed when the city only had 3,500 people and guided our growth to almost 20,000 people. During that time, we created a walkable town with a vibrant sense of community. We added the YMCA, many new neighborhood developments with paths and green spaces, a new city hall, and library, as well as our incredible community arts center. We have created a fantastic city. It is up to us to make sure that in the next 30 years we still have a great community.
Growth is inevitable. If we choose not to grow, surrounding communities and the county will expand around us, without our input. The question is not "Do we grow?" the question is "Who controls growth?" It is critical that we stay in control of our future. This is why it is so important that we have a plan.
Our cities current Comprehensive Plan is now 27 years old and is showing its age. That plan did not contemplate the transportation and economic growth challenges that the city now faces. It is time for an updated plan. A plan that preserves what we all find great about our town. A vision that is centered on our community values, creating a roadmap that provides opportunities for all portions of our community.
When considering the future and expanding our city, it is vital that we evaluate many factors:
Is the proposed growth aligned with our community values?
At what pace do we grow?
Can our current and future transportation system support the growth?
Are we creating opportunities for people to live and work in Sherwood?
Does the growth promote healthy, sustainable property tax revenues to fund city services?
Are we identifying practical, attainable solutions that create housing options for our starter families, retirees, empty nesters, and those that need affordable options?
Is our partner, Sherwood Schools, aligned with our plans?
Under the direction of the City Council and the Planning Commission, a Citizen Advisory Committee has started the process of amending the 1991 plan, as we look forward to our future. This project is called the Sherwood 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update.
Many groups outside Sherwood have a vested interest in the outcome of this plan. Some of these groups genuinely have our best interests at heart. However, they all have an agenda for wanting to influence our planning process. Here are a few examples of the type of groups that are actively lobbying or imposing their influence on Sherwood.
The State Government.
Large regional developers and their paid lobbyist
Regional governments that Sherwood is a part of like Washington County and Metro
Lobbying groups that cover interests from conservation to construction
Affordable housing advocates
And other groups that stand to profit from our growth
To be clear, some of these groups can provide a lot of great input on the plan, and that is valuable. However, at the end of the day, it is our citizens that should decide our future.
The only Influence that matters
Those that want to profit from our growth are organized and very vocal. Let's make sure that those of us who live here now, and into the future, have a louder voice!
As your representative on City Council, I want to make sure I am engaging you in this process and soliciting your feedback and dreams for our town, and what it might look like over the next 40 years. I want to make sure you have a voice in our future.
The city will be hosting many events to gather input from citizens, both in person, and electronically. I encourage everyone to get involved. Many opportunities should only take a few minutes of your time, but if time allows and you have an interest, we need local citizens involved in helping determine our future.
I initially started this blog to help inform and gather feedback to have a better understanding of what our citizens want for Sherwood's future. I will stay the course and continue digging deep, asking the hard questions of those who stand to profit, engaging with you as my neighbor, in our beloved town, by sending out polls and welcome any and all input. If you have time and an interest, I like to make myself available and invite you to join me for Coffee with a Councilor.