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Planning launches new tools to receive community input for HenricoNext

Online map, Meeting in a Box will help residents shape next Comprehensive Plan

The Department of Planning has introduced two additional engagement tools to help residents and other stakeholders shape a vision for Henrico County’s future as it prepares the 2045 Comprehensive Plan.

The new features build on initial efforts to receive public input during the HenricoNext process to update the Comprehensive Plan. One of the tools is the HenricoNext Public Engagement Portal, which contains an online interactive map that allows members of the public to submit comments about a particular area or location in the county.

Users are encouraged to pin their comments to the applicable area and categorize them by selecting from a list of six options – land use, transportation, public facilities and safety, public utilities, environment and other. Planners will compile the comments for review but will not post responses on the map.

The other new tool, called Meeting in a Box, is an activity that encourages community groups, such as neighborhood associations, book clubs and faith organizations, to meet at their convenience for a free-flowing discussion about the county’s future growth, including challenges and opportunities.

The Meeting in a Box materials, which are currently available exclusively online, include a community overview, with information on Henrico’s demographics, trends and issues as well as examples of recent development and new county facilities.

After reviewing the information, a group is asked to answer six questions related to growth, challenges and opportunities as well as community priorities. Responses can be typed on a PDF form and forwarded to Planning.

“Robust community engagement is critical to the success of the 2045 Comprehensive Plan because the plan will serve as Henrico’s blueprint and guide for a healthy and prosperous future,” Planning Director Joe Emerson said. “Just as we welcomed feedback during last spring’s community visioning workshop, we hope our residents will use the Public Engagement Portal and Meeting in a Box to help shape a vision that will serve our county for the next two decades.”

In preparation for HenricoNext’s third phase, the project team is finalizing several reports on the county’s existing conditions and will soon begin to evaluate options for future growth. Residents are encouraged to stay informed by registering to receive email updates on the HenricoNext process. Once it is approved by the Board of Supervisors, the 2045 Comprehensive Plan will serve as the official guide for decisions on development and investments in public facilities and infrastructure. A draft plan is expected to be presented to the Board for its review and approval in 2024.

Henrico’s current Comprehensive Plan – Vision 2026 – was adopted in 2009. It includes chapters on recommended land uses; natural resources; recreation, parks, open spaces and cultural resources; transportation; and public facilities and utilities. The next plan is expected to cover the same topics and include a focus on pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Questions about the HenricoNext process can be directed to [email protected].

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