White Oak kicks off new comprehensive plan project at no cost to community

A grant of up to $300,000 of storm recovery dollars is slated to fund a new comprehensive plan for White Oak to help steer the city’s progress for the foreseeable future.
During their monthly meeting June 11, council members officially chose GrantWorks to administer the monies and develop the plan – at no cost to the city.
In other business, the group approved a variance for a carport and took a series of votes paving the way for a new housing addition.
Tuesday’s meeting also included a new oath of office for Place 5 Councilman Kevin Hood and the swearing-in of council newcomer Danny Kinsley, appointed by the council to Place 1 after Dana Mizell stepped away from the seat to become White Oak municipal judge.
According to GrantWorks’ Nick Finan, the coming plan will cover all aspects of city infrastructure – parks, water, sewer, drainage, etc. – in a “living document” to be updated every five years as the community continues to develop. The last such plan was crafted in 1999.
“That will hopefully guide you for the next 20 years or so,” Finan said.
Crafting the plan – currently estimated at about $261,000 – will take up to 24 months. It depends on how often GrantWorks personnel interface with citizens groups during the process.
The firm’s 13 percent administrative fee (not a flat rate as previously stated) is covered within the grant funds in addition to the expense for analysis, engineering and more.
“The funds, 100 percent of them go to the development of that plan, that and the administration,” Finan said. “It won’t go for actual capital.”
After unanimous approval of the grant project, the council held a public hearing (with no speakers) then unanimously approved Henry Hoffman’s request for a Special Use Permit to build a wood-frame carport on Lake Harris Road.
Regarding the housing project, after another brief public hearing the council signed off on Thompson Builders’ request to rezone 9.5 acres from Agriculture to Single Family (8). Subsequent to another hearing, the group approved a variance to reduce the road easement from 60 feet to 50 but declined to change lot sizes from 8,000 square-feet to 7,000 at the North White Oak Road development of 32 anticipated homes.
In his city coordinator report, Jimmy Purcell discussed various business gains before noting the Hwy. 42 utility relocation is currently estimated at $3.7 million, leaving the city $1 million short. Meetings on the project are in the works.
Meanwhile, the installation of 1,000 new water meters is coming soon: “We’re going to start with the ones who need it,” Purcell said. “Hopefully by doing that we should be better on radio reads instead of having to go out there and do it by hand.”
The city’s audit should be completed at the end of the month ahead of presentation by Albert Garcia of Mays & Associates in July, Purcell said. He closed his report with praised for a number of city employees across multiple departments.

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