Newport Business Association Receives Overview of City's Comprehensive Plan
The Newport Business Association (NBA) received an overview of where the city currently is in developing its comprehensive plan - which must be addressed every five years - during the NBA's monthly meeting last Wednesday afternoon at the Hofbrauhaus. The overview was delivered by the meeting's keynote speaker and Newport's assistant city manager, Larisa Sims.
"Our community has been doing a lot of work and we've been doing a lot of analysis," Sims told the NBA. "Our comprehensive plan this time is going to be a more strategic plan."
Sims explained that the point of the plan is to shape zoning ordinances throughout the city. She cited that when a prospective developer lobbies the city to change the zoning for an area, the development and change of the zone is compared to the comprehensive plan to check whether it meets the city's goals or not.
She also explained that Newport develops its comprehensive plan in four phases: discovery, which appears to be ongoing; visioning; exploring, where the city currently is; and finalizing the plan document. The exploring phase mostly consists of creating actionable steps for the city to meet its goals.
"Public engagement was a super important part of all this," Sims said. "It told us what our strengths are and where we have room for improvement which tells us what our goals should be and where we should focus."
Sims said that the city has been hosting focus groups and surveys with various stakeholders and that some of the themes arising from those endeavors are the riverfront developments, the Newport's westside, community gathering spaces, bike lanes and paths, traffic-calming, and parking in the downtown business district.
The city is still seeking input throughout the development of its comprehensive plan and encourages residents, business owners, and visitors of Newport to visit its website to learn more and give feedback on its plan.
-Connor Wall, associate editor