Nashvillians can offer ideas on connecting three counties

Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 11:45pm

The Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking input on the long-range growth plans for three suburban counties.

In 2007, the MPO announced the Tri-County Transportation and Land-Use Study to co-ordinate smart growth in Robertson, Sumner and Wilson counties.

The multi-county, regional planning agency — is working closely with local planners and community leaders to develop a plan to address growth for the next 25 years.

“Middle Tennessee is expected to grow by close to another million people within the next couple of decades. That growth will present challenges for communities across the region,” said Michael Skipper, director of the Nashville Area MPO. “We must be thinking now about how those people will commute or use our transportation system to carry out their daily activities.”

Because the long-term plan will affect Nashville, as well, MPO scheduled a Davidson County workshop for 11 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Nashville Downtown Partnership. Springfield will host the Robertson County workshop 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at Farmer’s Bank on Tom Austin Highway; with the final meeting slated for Lebanon City Hall at 5 p.m. Dec. 8.

The study is a first-of-its-kind effort in the region to bring local governments, citizens, and businesses together across jurisdictional boundaries to talk about significant growth issues. The MPO will use this effort to generate ideas for the regional transportation plan.

Local governments expect to use the effort to develop or improve upon their own comprehensive plans. This second series of meetings recaps input and feedback from the first round, and gives citizens a chance to learn about land use and transportation strategies that might be available to planners.

“We strongly encourage people to ‘save the date’ and participate in the discussion,” Skipper said. “Linking transportation and land use issues is critically important — this effort goes a step further to improve coordination of local planning activities across city and county boundaries…. Community growth plans play a key part in ensuring a high quality-of-life for the region; coordination of these plans is becoming increasingly essential as our communities grow closer together.”