BURRILLVILLE — A required five-year update of the town’s comprehensive plan with amendments approved by the Town Council on Dec. 14. is slated to be sent to the state for final approval.
Burrillville's 2005 comprehensive plan, a state-required, long-range policy document, expired in March 2010. Since then, the town has been working to update the plan, which is required every five years. The update includes new information, minor changes to policies over the past five years, as well as recommendations by the state, which conducted an informal review of the local plan last year.
The comprehensive plan is a broad-based policy document that presents the town's intentions for its future development as defined by the citizens of the community, and adopted by the Planning Board and Town Council. The plan presents goals, policies and recommendations, as well as a program for the implementation of these recommendations within a five-to 20-year timeframe.
The plan, among other things, addresses historical trends and current and future conditions pertaining to the local economy, land use, housing, recreation and open space, transportation, natural and cultural resources, and community services and facilities.
At last month's public hearing on the proposed updates, the Town Council unanimously voted to approve the changes, which included the state's recommendations to add more data on goals and policies related to recycling; the road service management system; and issues relative to walkability and healthy foods.
"What you have before you is what the state suggested you add to (the plan)," Planning Director Thomas J. Kravitz told the council.
Kravitz said the good news is that if the final draft of the updated plan is ultimately approved by the state, Burrillville will not be required to update its comprehensive plan for another 10 years.
Kravitz said the state's 1988 Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Regulation Act, which requires the 39 communities in the state to prepare and adopt a local comprehensive plan, has been changed so that cities and towns are now only required to update their plans every 10 years with a full rewrite every 20 years.
"All the planners across the state are happy ahout this because it's a lot of work to fix these things, so to deal with it once every 10 years and fully every 20 is a good thing; plus, it coincides better with census data," Kravitz said. "Towns like us in the western part of the state don't really change much in increments of 10 years."
For example, Kravitz said, Burrillville's population didn't go up by much more than 200 in the past five years.
"So, if accepted by the state, our comprehensive plan will be good until June 2016," he said.
Town Councilman Edward Blanchard commended Kravitz and the Planning Department for their work on the update.
"I want to thank them for putting in the effort. It's a well laid-out plan," he said.