Cassville P & Z adopts master plan

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Downtown vision One of the portions of the master plan that the city intends to pursue almost immediately is the proposed downtown sidewalk and street light improvement plan, which is shown above in an architectural rendering that was on display during last Thursday night's Planning and Zoning Commission hearing.

The Cassville Planning and Zoning (P & Z) Commission has approved the City of Cassville's new master plan, which has been in development since last March. The action came Thursday night following a public hearing in the city council chambers that attracted a crowd of around 24 people.

A brief overview of the purpose, development and vision of the proposed master plan was presented by Economic Development Director Eugene Dilbeck and Scott Michie, project manager for BWR, the company that the city hired to complete the plan.

Dilbeck explained that a master plan was essential if the City of Cassville wanted to grow and develop and that such a plan was something businesses and industries look at closely before making relocation decisions.

"We needed to come up with a plan with the expertise that will allow us to grow in a focused direction without too many missteps," said Dilbeck. "This plan shows us how to develop Cassville so that it can be competitive in the state and regional marketplace."

Throughout the process of developing the plan, BWR involved a large number of citizens and community leaders in the planning stages. A survey of the community, which was conducted by BWR, produced a phenomenal 33 percent return rate.

"This was an inclusive process," said Dilbeck. "We feel the information we have obtained represents the pulse of the community."

Michie said he enjoyed the process of working with community members to develop a master plan for Cassville.

"The public message was pretty clear," said Michie. "The public is proud of Cassville and wants and expects an investment to be made in the city."

Michie also explained that one portion of the plan involved a retail market analysis.

"This looks at opportunities for capturing more retail sales," said Michie. "You have an opportunity to capture more market share than you currently do, which shows there is an opportunity for future sales tax growth."

Other parts of the plan focus on housing, downtown revitalization, tourism, land use, transportation, sidewalk and trail improvements, infrastructure, funding opportunities and implementation.

"It's a very comprehensive plan that represents a lot of detailed work and input we've received from citizens," concluded Michie. "Our analysis shows there's opportunity to grow and this plan can help you take that step forward."

The hearing allowed those in attendance to make comments about the plan. City Clerk Kelly Paul said about seven people spoke at the hearing and their comments were all positive in regards to the master plan. Their input centered on the need for the city to put the plan into action and not let it just "sit on a shelf."

Following the hearing, P & Z members voted unanimously to approve the plan. Members of Cassville's P & Z Commission include: Tracy Holle, Randy Stockton, Bob Allen, Brenda Beck, Bill Hill, Donnie Williams and Dan Angel.

In approving the plan, the P & Z Commission also recommended that the Cassville City Council adopt the plan and put it into action. Aldermen are scheduled to discuss the P & Z recommendation at their Nov. 16 council meeting.

Mayor Tracy Holle said she was encouraged by the comments made at the P & Z hearing and the action taken by the commission.

"Now comes the phase where the economic development team (Eugene and Lynette Dilbeck) and myself begin to bring together groups of people," said Holle.

For example, the city could begin forming various citizen-driven groups, such as a downtown business committee, a young professionals alliance, parents for parks or seniors for housing, Holle said.

"We'll pick two or three key figures for each group and then allow them to bring in others to begin this process of making the master plan happen," said Holle. "This will require commitment and perseverance from all involved. Now is the time and what a great opportunity we have to all be a part of it."

The final draft of the master plan that was approved this past week can be viewed at

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