Harford County Releases First Draft of HarfordNEXT – A Master Plan for the Next Generation

Harford County’s first draft of HarfordNEXT – A Master Plan for the Next Generation has been released for public comment.

harfordnextAccording to a Harford County press release,

The draft is a visionary document outlining broad goals, big ideas, and actionable recommendations to guide county planning decisions through the year 2040 on land use, transportation, environmental stewardship, agricultural and historic preservation, economic prosperity and healthy communities.   Opportunities for public feedback include 24/7 access to an innovative online tool called “Open Comment”, which allows users to comment on any line of the draft document and view comments made by others. A public meeting on HarfordNEXT will be held on Thursday, February 18, from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Chesapeake Dining Hall on the campus of Harford Community College.

“HarfordNEXT reflects a modern, flexible approach to planning that is written in plain English, making it easier for everyone to read and consider how the plan will touch their lives and the next generation,” said County Executive Glassman.

In development since April 2015, the first draft of HarfordNEXT is  a departure from previous master plans that were over 700 pages long and organized around separate “element plans” such as the Natural Resources Element Plan, Transportation Plan, and Priority Preservation Area Plan.   HarfordNEXT unifies the separate elements into a cohesive, streamlined plan.

“Instead of asking citizens to fit their ideas into different element plans, we organized HarfordNEXT around six themes that reflect the comprehensive way people actually use public services and public spaces,” said Bradley F.  Killian, director of Harford County Planning and Zoning.  Each theme has an easy-to-follow format with a brief introduction followed by goals, principles and implementation strategies.  Those themes are: Grow with Purpose, Economic Vitality, Environmental Stewardship, Preserving Our Heritage, Mobility and Connectivity and Promoting Healthy Communities. Images and infographics are used throughout the draft to highlight key features.

Big ideas introduced in the draft include holistic transportation planning that emphasizes livability over simple vehicle mobility. Other ideas include green infrastructure planning, a renewed emphasis on preservation, and so-called “form based” zoning that considers the design and operation of a proposed development.

To read more about HarfordNEXT, visit Harford County’s website.

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