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Introduction to the Smithville, TX Comprehensive Plan
A Comprehensive Plan is a report resulting from a public process that addresses as many of the various elements needed to sustain a local population as extensively as possible. Each individual component is publicly examined, and the Plan brings them all together to look at how they interact in the big picture. The Comprehensive Plan is designed to enable a community to enhance the quality of life for all present and future members by describing near-term improvements as well as long-term development; it is a blueprint for growth, designed by community members for community members, to help the city reach its fullest potential for all.
The Comprehensive Planning process encourages public input through many avenues (town hall meetings, public forums, focus groups, outreach, and an open door at City Hall for example), allowing citizens to shape the Plan and support the projects resulting from planning efforts. For the Plan to be successful, the public must support the recommended projects, help prioritize them, and approve of the limited resources allocated for them. Because staff and funds at city governments are scarce, involving residents in the planning process empowers them to engage at a higher level and to participate in the actual realization of various elements of the Plan, developing committees, coalitions, and task forces and implementing projects that will address the needs of the community and enhance the quality of life through infrastructure and amenities deemed important. While city governments can facilitate these efforts, the public is integral to making any community thrive.
Most Recent Comprehensive Plans
The City of Smithville's Comprehensive Plan is a "living document." The 2007 Plan that LCRA facilitated is still in effect today, having more than 80% of the projects and priorities identified within it implemented or in progress. The 2009 Update was a shorter process to help the then-newly hired Grants Administrator establish whether priorities had changed and if other projects might have arisen since the initial Plan. The subsequent 2011-2012 Plan is the latest update to include 2010 Census figures and to address any issues that had not been included in the 2007 Plan or had changed so substantially as to need an update by that time.
2011-2012 Update to the 2007 Plan
The citizens who participated in this program encouraged Council to establish the Smithville Historic Preservation and Design Standards Advisory Committee (HPDS). One of its main tasks was to develop an application process and form for a City Historic Marker program that will showcase historic buildings, locations, events, and individuals. Residents may apply for the Marker, which the HPDS will review. HPDS will recommend action to City Council, which will determine whether to approve the marker and the reference to the historic and cultural asset on the Smithville Cultural District website. Applicants will be required to pay for the marker. The Application Form is available on line here or at City Hall.
2007 Comprehensive Plan Chapters
In 2007, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) worked together with the Smithville Comprehensive Task Force to develop the Comprehensive Plan provided here. Links below show each of the chapters and issues addressed at that time.
Other Recent Community Development Projects, Plans, and Documents
In addition to the major Comprehensive Planning process, several other opportunities have been used to engage the public in the planning process to help improve quality of life in Smithville and its surrounding rural community.
In 2019, the Smithville City Council began to examine Tiny Homes. The results of the Tiny Home Survey show that about 60% of local residents believe that Tiny Homes (homes 400 square feet or less) SHOULD be allowed in Smithville, and 63% are in favor of smaller homes (homes between 401 and 700 squre feet). About one third of the community said that Tiny Homes should be allowed anywhere, and about one third said that they should be in a separate zoned district. Opinions were split with over 40% on each side saying that they WOULD object to one located next door and over 40% saying they WOULD NOT object to one next door.
On October 28, 2019, City Council held a Tiny Home Forum: Panelists provided information (the Tiny Home Presentation is available for the public to review) to the community, community members were encouraged to speak about the project, and City Council held a Special Called Meeting to deliberate next steps. The Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce filmed it on FaceBook Live.
The three FB Live links are:
The Historic Preservation and Design Standards Advisory Committee (HPDS). The HPDS was created during the 2011-2012 Smithville Comprehensive Plan process. This Advisory Committee was established because many of the individuals who attended those Comprehensive Plan meetings supported the concept of “smart for us” growth and development, that still recognizes, celebrates, and preserves Smithville's history. As Smithville becomes more successful in attracting new residents and businesses, it is important to our community that Smithville maintains its historic small-town look, feel, charm, and character.
2013 Cultural District Application. Smithville applied to become a Cultural District through the Texas Commission on the Arts in 2013, and became the 25th community to achieve that standing. This designation illustrates Smithville's welcoming attitude towards art and culture, and opens the door to many funding opportunities. In Fall of 2015, the Smithville City Council, Lost Pines Artisans' Association, and Cultural District Steering Committee adopted the Cultural District Business Plan to set goals, highlight partnerships, and provide a framework for additional action items.
In 2013, and Economic Development Committee began meeting to discuss Smithville's needs for economic development. The following reports have been created to bolster economic development activities here.
2014 Economic Development Survey Memo (Summary of Survey Results)
2010 Safe Routes to School Plan. In 2009, parents, Smithville Independent School District administrators, faculty, staff and students, Smithville Police Department, Smithville Public Library, elected officials, and a variety of other community members served on a Task Force to identify needs and potential programming and infrastructure that would fill those needs. The Smithville Safe Routes to School Plan is the result of that effort. This Plan was submitted as part of a grant application to the Texas Department of Transportation (TX-DOT) for the national Safe Routes to School Partnership, which was able to fund over $320,000 in infrastructure and programs for the Smithville community. Sidewalk infrastructure along Loop 230, South 4th Street and Washington Street was constructed in 2013-2014 with these funds. Several programs, including Walk to School Wednesdays, Feet First, Reading to Ride, Bike Rodeos, and Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Workshops, have been sustained since 2010. For more information, please see the Smithville Safe Routes to School Facebook Page.
2010 Recycling in the Schools Case Study. In 2010, Smithville received a grant through the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG)'s Solid Waste Program for a collaborative Recycling in the Schools program in the amount of about $65,000. The CAPCOG funding comes directly from the Texas Commission on Enviromental Quality (TCEQ). This program helped to sustain and enhance recycling efforts in Smithville Schools and in several Cedar Creek schools, and continues to inspire and teach students to recycle.
Past City of Smithville Comprehensive Plans
1997 Comprehensive Plan
The 2007 Plan was one of the latest Planning efforts that the City has undertaken, but Smithville has been seeking input in the planning process for many decades. The 1997 Plan is provided below.
Useful Links and Resources
Citizens and residents can find many useful resources on the Internet for the help they need to become fuller participants in government. The list below provides a few links to some helpful websites. Many, many more exist that are not listed here. It is hoped that these resources will give you a start to help you find what you are seeking.
County, Regional, State, and Federal Agencies
Gazley Creek Bridge at 4th Avenue CLOSED
The off-system bridge at 4th Avenue over Gazley Creek was ordered CLOSED for public safety by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) at 10:25 am on...read more >
Burn Ban Rescinded
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BURN BAN EXTENDED
The Burn Ban for Bastrop County has been extended to October 28, 2019read more >