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Comprehensive Master Plan – HSV

CEO unveils details on CMP roadmap

In a Village Voice article, dated July 2, 2018, Lesley Nalley shares details on the HSV Comprehensive Master Plan. The article says, “The CMP is expected to provide a detailed roadmap to the Village’s next three decades, and beyond. This article outlines the steps which are being taken to implement the CMP and also explains how the steps should align with the enterprise goals.

“Each step into the future will include a discussion of the POA’s enterprise goals:
‒ Protect community-wide property-owner value and lifestyle;
‒ Strengthen the Village’s financial health;
Build property-owner trust and support. “

At the time the above-referenced article was published, we only had three enterprise goals. We now have an additional goal of, “Provide welcoming visitor experiences which encourage property ownership.”

Is the CMP in alignment with the four enterprise goals?

What is a master plan?

A master plan is a long-term plan which presents a guide to future changes and development for a community.  This plan analyzes and proposes suggestions for an area’s population, economy, housing, transportation, land use, etc.  The master plan is based on public input, using charettes and surveys.  This plan also takes into consideration actual development already in place, the conditions of the area including geographical, social and economic factors. 

What is a comprehensive plan? 

The comprehensive plan is a document which recommends future changes and development for a community.  According to Module 2: Introduction to the Comprehensive Plan, a comprehensive plan only makes recommendations.  Its value is “indicated by the community’s desire to see its implementation.”

Notice the phrase, “the community’s desire to see its implementation”.

What is the difference between a comprehensive plan and a master plan?

According to Hasan Megdadi, an architect who graduated from the Jordan University of Science and Technology:

  • Comprehensive plans typically encompass large geographical areas, a broad range of topics, and cover a long-term time horizon.”
  • “Master planning is the creation of a framework in which development parcels, massing, heights, relationships of buildings, circulation, and streets are defined in enough detail to define predictable outcomes but with sufficient flexibility to allow various responses of actual developers and designers of which there may be several or many within one master plan area.” 

CMP and Zoning/platting/Protective Covenants

Of importance is that “a comprehensive plan and a zoning ordinance” are two separate tools that are used in conjunction with one another. A comprehensive plan acts in a guiding role and provides recommendations on how land should be utilized to meet the needs and desires of the community, whereas a zoning ordinance regulates land uses as recommended by the plan.”

In other words, the zoning and plan must agree.  Hot Springs Village zoning/platting/easements and Comprehensive Master Plan do not agree.  Management attempted to orchestrate this agreement with the Amendment vote and changes to the Protective Covenants.  (Important to note here that the New Protective Covenants were not filed with the Garland and Saline County Clerk.)

Feasibility Study

A common denominator for a good master plan is that a feasibility study should be conducted.  This is done to review available options for development and determine whether the chosen site is compatible with the proposed use.  HSVPOA Comprehensive Master Plan is a plan which contains serious flaws as to the probability of it being implemented in our community.

“Feasibility Study:
 The feasibility study is an objective review of available options for development. It includes findings, analysis, and conclusions from the visioning and scoping exercises for a given site or inner-city area. It indicates whether the chosen site is suitable for the intended function, taking into account the financial, social, and environmental aspects of each proposal. Many comprehensive master plans start with a feasibility study in order to understand the site’s geographic, environmental, and historic context. This process builds on the information collected and analysis developed during the scoping phase. Any background reports that are deemed necessary (that is, hydrology, environment, cultural heritage, transport, and so on) should also be commissioned at this stage to inform the master planning process (Blackmore 1990).”

Did this happen?   If a feasibility study was conducted on the advisability of the New Urbanism Comprehensive Master Plan, where are the results of this study?

Why is the CMP not dead in the water?

In other words, it certainly seems as if the implementation of the Comprehensive Master Plan should be dead in the water.  Some points worth noting: 

hsvpoa easement release
CCI owns 7 and 1/2 feet easements around every property in the Village
  1.  The Comprehensive Master Plan must be in lock-step with existing zoning/existing easements and Protective Covenants.  It is not in lock-step with any of these.
  2. The plan only has value if the community is in agreement.  This community includes all Property Owners, including the Developer.  The majority of Property Owners and the Developer are not in agreement with the plan, as evidenced by the results of the Amendment Vote.
  3. The CMP is a New Urbanism plan.  Gated communities and retirement communities are problematic to New Urbanists. We have a gated community and while not an age-restricted community, most of our residents are of retirement age.
  4. The CMP proposes the development of high-density housing and neighborhoods with multi-family dwellings and very small homes in pocket neighborhoods.  This cannot be done without CCI’s release of easements.
  5. The plan is one which includes town centers, which the plan states cannot be supported by the population and many outsiders will need to be allowed access into the Village in order to support these businesses. This would be difficult to accomplish with our existing gates, unless the gatekeepers just wave everyone on in. With much more traffic coming into the Village, the existing gate system would often not work and there would be a bottleneck of cars backed out to the highway.
  6. The plan also includes mixed-use zoning.  This would require rezoning of our community.  This is virtually impossible to do as it would take 100% agreement of the residents of the subdivision affected and the release of CCI’s easements.
  7. The plan promotes less use of the automobile. Our residents are older and we depend on our vehicles, especially in such hilly terrain. Even riding bicycles in this community is difficult and often not safe as the road shoulders are too narrow to make this easy. On busy DeSoto Boulevard, bicycle traffic would have to merge with the main traffic.

Why is the CMP still “full steam ahead”?

First, I would like to clear up something. The plan is an advisory document and should not be listed as a “Governing Document”. By listing the CMP as a governing document, this accords the CMP unwarranted status. As stated above, the CMP SHOULD be dead in the water and definitely not elevated to a governing document?  Why is this “roadmap” still being followed and implemented?

  1. Are they afraid to admit they made a mistake?
  2. Do they feel they do not have to consider the wishes of the community?
  3. Do they feel they know what is best, even though the plan has been proven to be unworkable?
  4. Are there special interest groups set up to profit from this plan?

This article is an opinion piece. I am only asking questions.  Please comment below if you have additional ideas regarding this. Thank you for reading.

by Cheryl Dowden

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