Diverse 14-member group guides Hampton’s comprehensive plan

Monday, September 2, 2019 | 12:01 AM

The steering committee for a new implementable comprehensive plan in Hampton Township is made up of a diverse group of people intended to represent various aspects of the community and will be among those present at an upcoming public meeting on Sept. 25, 7 p.m., at the community center.

Along with the committee members, township staff and council will be present to discuss and provide updates on the plan process, according to Mike Peters, council president for Hampton Township.

An implementable plan is different than previous plans, including incorporating more community input with identifiable steps and costs, said Peters.

The Steering Committee consists of 14 members, including five citizen stakeholders; superintendent and assistant superintendent of the Hampton Township School District; township staff; members of the planning commission; zoning hearing board; and environmental advisory council. The library director for the Hampton Community Library and a student representative are also included.

Hampton Township Council member Dr. Carolynn Johnson is a liaison and on the committee.

“As a council, we very deliberately wanted individuals on the Steering Committee from different backgrounds and who represented different demographics and stakeholders within the township,” said Johnson.

All the steering committee members either work or live in the community, said Johnson.

“In particular, we wanted to ensure that we had representation from the township’s advisory boards … community organizations (such as) the Hampton Community Association, the community library, the school district, township administration, Hampton business owners, residents who were not necessarily affiliated with any board, students, and senior citizens,” said Johnson.

Four advisory members are also part of the process, including Peters, Hampton Township council member Bethany Blackburn, Port Authority Chief Development Officer David Huffaker, and Port Authority government and community liaison Melissa Girty.

Johnson said they have had requests for improved public transportation within and to Hampton.

“Overall, the Steering Committee will be instrumental in reaching out to the community to ensure that we hear from as many Hampton stakeholders as possible and will guide the process to create goals and actionable steps for the Comprehensive Plan,” said Johnson.

Residents have until Sept. 30 to complete a survey that will aid in the development of the plan. It’s available via the township website or by paper at the library and the township building on McCully Road.

Specific goals with timelines and associating costs for each of these steps will help council in future budget planning, said Peters.

“The whole point of the comprehensive plan serves as a road map on how we want to see the future,” said Peters. “We want to include the community as much as we possibly can because it’s for their benefit.”

Peters said the whole planning process can take about 18 to 24 months.

Chris Lochner, manager for the township, said the committee has been very active in trying to reach out to the community to complete the survey. He said the national average for a response rate to a survey like this is approximately 2 to 3 percent. But he’s hoping for 5 to 10 percent. There are currently about 19,000 residents and 7,500 households, he said.