Urbana residents expressed concern about a drafted plan for the South Main Street Corridor.
Doug Crabill, Urbana community development manager, hosted a Thursday evening meeting dedicated to explaining parts of the plan, answering questions and collecting comments from the public.
The drafted plan, done by Burton Planning Services, under contract with Urbana, can be found at http://burtonplanning.com/urbana_mainplan/?fbclid=IwAR0kkTwwC_exeQFlvwYRKDvgUrKUpfBnscAfNyAG4vDZFDVa8VDJsX9WZyw.
The plan provides a blueprint for development in the southern portion of the City of Urbana and result in a land use, circulation and access management plan for the corridor, according to the Urbana South Main Street Corridor Plan website. “The Draft Plan is based on input from the city, its residents and other stakeholders with an investment in the city’s future and will be used to guide future land use, zoning and infrastructure decisions.”
The goal of the plan is to “provide a guideline for future development and growth within the southern part of the city and areas surrounding that,” Crabill explained.
But residents who own land near areas listed in the plan for possible change feared for their land-owning rights.
Resident Summer Woodburn said initially she did have concerns about roads being built across her land without her permission, but when she began asking questions she was met with the utmost transparency and her concerns were alleviated.
“I’m glad,” she said. “I want to balance growing the area while also protecting our heritage and hometown, small-town agricultural feel of Urbana.”
Resident Dan Shambaugh asked if whoever was responsible for the plan was going to be ready for legal repercussions if they try to infringe on his rights regarding his property.
“This is all of a sudden — a shock to us,” he said. “No one informed me of what’s going on. I don’t think it’s right.”
Pat Thackery, at-large Urbana City Councilman, said he wanted to be clear that the plan is not the city’s plan, but a plan proposed by a consultant to get approval from the council.
“This is only for the purposes of a plan,” he said. “This may never get adopted by council — it’s hard to say until all the (information) is collected. It’s not the city’s plan. It’s a proposal to the city.”
Thackery continued to say that the plan doesn’t indicate anyone’s land is being taken nor does it indicate that anyone will be forced to do something against their will.
“We just like to see what the vision is before we decide anything,” he said. “This could help anyone who wants to sell their land. That’s all it is. Everybody’s overreacting.”
Crabill said the plan is merely conceptual.
“We’ve been criticized just as much for not having a plan,” he said.
Crabill estimated council could see the plan in February or March after public comment is closed Jan. 31. Those with concerns can leave their comments on the Urbana South Main Street Corridor Plan website.
“We hope that at the end of the day we can all agree on something (and) we can all move forward on as a city or township. We are Urbana,” he said.