One of the many reports at the Fayetteville City Council retreat held Feb. 9 was a presentation by Community Development Director Jahnee Prince on community input in the city’s upcoming comprehensive plan.
Prince said the recent community survey ended with 554 responses and resulted in a variety of suggestions and statistically-relevant information from residents across the city.
The survey produced a number of results that indicate the city is changing. Among those were:
- The city is becoming more diverse in race and age, with more people moving in from other parts of the county.
- Vibrancy, walkability, and having amenities that other similar-sized communities have is more important.
- Fayetteville is not just a bedroom community anymore. Residents want professional job opportunities and they want varied community offerings such as places to go at night, parks and outdoor gathering places.
The largest percentage of people taking the survey, 29 percent, have lived in the city for less than five years. The second largest percentage group, totaling 22 percent, have lived in Fayetteville for more than 20 years. Those living in the city 5-10 years, 10-15 years and 15-20 years made up 15-17 percent of each of the three age groupings.
Perhaps the greatest difference in perspective came from those residents living in the city for less than five years and those living there for more than 20 years.
Residents living in the city for less than five years were:
- More likely to want restaurants.
- More likely to be concerned about attracting professional businesses instead of service businesses.
- Want more changes and improvements based on what similar-sized suburban communities have.
- More likely to have fewer concerns.
Residents of more than 20 years in Fayetteville were:
- More likely to prefer a grid neighborhood and more things in walking distance.
- More likely to want natural parks, fountains and water features.
- More likely to be concerned about code enforcement.
- More likely to be concerned about retaining the city’s history.
- More likely to be concerned about traffic.
Survey results also showed the similarities in Fayetteville’s newest and long-time residents. Both groups want:
- Special sidewalks/crosswalks, streetlights and other streetscape improvements.
- More businesses and downtown activity.
- More places to go at night.
- More festivals and events.
- More outdoor recreational opportunities such as parks and greenspace, trails, the development of a large central park and other outdoor gathering place.
- A more walkable community.
The outcome of the survey noted things the city can and cannot do.
The city can:
- Attract, retain and expand quality businesses.
- Require quality development.
- Address traffic by participating in the county transportation plan and educating the community on projects included in the upcoming SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) referendum.
The city cannot:
- Be rural or have a rural atmosphere because Fayetteville has been suburban too long.
- Stop development unless all property is rezoned for open space and the city pays property owners for the loss in value to their land.