HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County is debuting new tools to gather feedback on the direction of the county, designed to put the power to organize town halls in the hands of residents.
The effort is part of the county’s plan for its new comprehensive plan, which will be crafted over the next few years and is expected to guide land use until 2045.
Now, the county is encouraging residents to host their own town halls to gather feedback from neighbors on the direction of the county. That includes a “Meeting in a Box” toolkit, downloadable as a pdf document on the county website.
The guide includes key demographic and economic information about the county, including an overview of the housing market.
“Well, ‘meeting in the box’ is just one component of public engagement for the county’s comprehensive plan update,” said Jean Moore, Assistant Director of Planning for Henrico County. “That comprehensive plan is a guide for how the county wants to grow over the next 20 years so it’s critical for the county to get involved in this process.”
Moore says the county isn’t looking for any one specific suggestion or idea from residents. Instead, the plan is intended to gather as much input as possible to find what issues need attention.
“How do they [community members] want Henrico to grow? Are there any specific places that we need to be aware of?” Moore questioned. “So it really is a brainstorming idea for anyone to get involved in this process.”
Residents are encouraged to gather with neighbors, go over the information inside, then answer a series of open-ended questions about priorities for the 2045 plan. Once the feedback is gathered, organizers can send the completed packet to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The county is also promoting a community map that residents can comment on to highlight concerns in specific areas. Residents can leave geo-tagged comments drawing the county’s attention to infrastructure and development issues in specific neighborhoods.
So far, the map’s comments are mostly related to transportation and walkability, with many residents demanding expanded bike lanes, better sidewalks and more bus service.