Land Use Issues Citizen Workshop

Searcy community leaders will seek directions concerning land use issues from local residents at a citizen work session on July 18, at 6:00 p.m. at the Carmichael Community Center.

The city’s urban planning consultant, Jim von Tungeln, announced the plans in late June, explaining that attendees would actually be working toward solutions to specific problems facing the city.

“Too often, in public input sessions,” von Tungeln explained, “cities simply announce plans or proposals and seek a reaction. This meeting will progress differently. Citizens will actually use materials provided to make concrete plans and proposals for the city to consider.

“Some issues are too complex and, affect too many people to allow simple mandates,” von Tungeln said. “For example, cities are required, by state law to provide certain types of affordable housing within their city limits if they enact zoning.”

He added, “The city must identify areas for this. Citizens may be able to provide the best answers.”

Continuing, he said, “Planners at the state and local levels worry about a growing shortage of affordable housing. This is a complex problem. For example, the very popular program of renting rooms in a home, or renting complete homes on a short-term basis is reducing the availability of housing in some cities. Resistance to multi-family housing is creating shortages in others. Solutions to such problems require the combined input of planners and residents.”

Von Tungeln explained, “New additions to the city’s transportation system will require new ideas in future land uses in general. We trust that attendees will provide valuable, first-hand knowledge in proposing new ideas.”

Elected officials hope for a large and enthusiastic crowd at the event. The city will provide maps, data, and working materials at tables where individual groups can work. Each table will record and report ideas and solutions.

“There is no time allotted at such sessions for complaints,” von Tungeln said. “Time is short and attendees are working too hard to develop solutions.” Such sessions have proven highly productive, reportedly, in other cities such as Batesville, Arkansas.

Persons wishing to commit to attendance for the July 18th event, or obtain additional information, may contact Lillie Cook at the Searcy Mayor’s office via e-mail at or call 501-268-2483.

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