Morgantown, WV Region
Regional Vision and Comprehensive Plans
Not long after the adoption of Morgantown’s 1999 Comprehensive Plan, the city and surrounding areas began experiencing rapid unforeseen growth, driven largely by expansion of West Virginia University and other large employers. Much of that growth has occurred outside of the city in areas with minimal development regulations. The resulting haphazard growth patterns, along with the region’s topography and inadequate transportation infrastructure investment has led to major challenges with traffic, housing costs, and other quality of life aspects. Thinking both locally and regionally, in 2010 the city reached out to surrounding jurisdictions and government entities to pursue a joint planning effort and coordinate the region’s land use and transportation plans. Planning NEXT and Burgess & Niple led the process that involved the City of Morgantown, the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization (MMMPO) and Town of Star City.
In an effort unique in West Virginia (and rare within contemporary planning practice) a unified Regional Vision and shared technical analyses formed the basis for three distinct plans, and united land use and transportation planning in the region. The planning NEXT team led a series of public workshops aimed at identifying community sentiments about where and how future growth in the region should occur. From the Regional Vision, the MMMPO’s regional long-range transportation plan was developed while new Comprehensive Plans were created for Morgantown and Star City using technical analysis specific to each plan. Separate steering committees and public workshops gathered and distilled community input specific to each plan.
The resulting plans are based upon shared assumptions about the desired future of the region and include many similar or compatible recommendations for policies, projects and programs. The joint planning effort helped to build support for regional policies that could address some of the region’s transportation and growth challenges. All three plans were adopted in 2012 by their respective jurisdictions.
Project Type: regional vision and comprehensive plans
Community Type: mid-size city, region
Clients: City of Morgantown, Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization, Town of Star City
Services: comprehensive planning, visioning, public engagement