Citizens will have several chances to contribute to an update of the city’s comprehensive plan in the coming months. At Wednesday’s meeting of the Plan Commission, City Planner Mike Reynolds and ECIA Regional Planning Coordinator Nicole Turpin detailed the number of ways city officials will seek community feedback.

A public survey is first on the agenda, according to Turpin. The 20-question document will ask Clinton residents, as well as residents from the surrounding area, what aspects of local living could be improved upon and what’s working well. Turpin said the information collected from the survey, which will likely be posted on the city website, and available at several locations throughout town until the end of March, will add public flavor to the  plan update.

A Community Visioning Event, tentatively scheduled for May 3 at the Eagle Point Lodge, will provide another opportunity for public input. The event will be similar to one held last September, Reynolds said, but will have a tighter focus.

“(We will) try to draw as many people from the general public to speak about what they want Clinton to be,” Reynolds said. “This time the subjects will be winnowed down to focal points.”

Those focal points include infrastructure, economy, housing, and parks and recreation. Turpin said that “stakeholder meetings” on each of these topics will be held prior to the Community Visioning Event to help plan discussion points.

Turpin and Reynolds said that other opportunities for public input, like an open house, could be considered. Ultimately, a draft of the comprehensive plan update, which will include input from the public, the plan commission, and other city officials, will be presented in August.

In other action, the commission:

• Asked for more information regarding a request from Union Pacific Railroad.

Union Pacific submitted a request to purchase several South Clinton lots to establish a “buffer zone,” for planned development. Reynolds said that to ensure safety, the railroad would like to acquire enough land to have a large clearance surrounding incoming trestles. He added that the parcels being considered for sale are likely the first of several waves of purchases by Union Pacific as construction proceeds.

Some commission members questioned the wisdom in planning the project piece by piece. The information presented to the commission shows only a portion of the area that will eventually be affected by the project, and does not indicate to what extent the buffer zone could reach.

“We shouldn’t be doing this piecemeal,” commission member Jim McGraw said. “It ought to come back to us as a whole entity.”

The commission moved to have Reynolds require additional information from Union Pacific before a decision is made.

If the commission approves of the project, it will issue a recommendation that will be considered by the City Council.

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