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Rexburg looks ahead to its future updating comprehensive plan

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - Rexburg is rapidly growing causing the Planning and Zoning team in the city to come together to create much needed updates to the Comprehensive Plan or Plan Rexburg. As a part of the process, they are reaching out to the members of the Rexburg community and asking them for help.

Alan Parkinson, the planing and zoning director for the city, says after a meeting Wednesday Morning the city is well on its way to making a new guiding document.

"The biggest part of what we're doing here is this is an update to our comprehensive plan, which is the guiding document of how we want to see the city grow or how we anticipate that's going to grow. So in preparing for this, we've hired the company, Logan Simpson, to come in and help us in going through different ways to gather that information, put together the plan, present it to the community in what we want to see happen."

He says during the meeting they are asking a few questions to people.

"In the process, what we're doing is inviting different segments of the population in here and getting their input. What do they see as challenges in the city? What are some of the great things about the city that they love that they don't want to see change? To gather that. So we can then put that into the plan, gather that information, and hopefully get what the citizen fans want to see happen in the city."

Parkinson says the city is also trying to balance the desire for new amenities with the costs building them would require.

"It's always a challenge to be able to balance the cost of what these amenities will cost or changes in the city versus what citizens can afford. Because when the city does things, it usually comes out of the tax base. That's what pays for these amenities."

But they are finding ways to create that happy equilibrium for the city's tax payers, and developers in the area.

"A lot of it comes back to on the developments themselves and the people that are doing that, developing as they come in. We require that they cover the costs of their development. They're building those roads. They're putting in the infrastructure to service that property, which then does not put an added balance or burden back on the average citizen," Parkinson said.

Parkinson says the city recongizes the amount of temporary residents that BYU-Idaho is bringing in to the city and is trying to balance their interests along with those of the long-term residents of the area.

"The university is a great partner with the city and that they come in and they provide for their students a lot of those amenities. They have great health facilities, they have the activities, they have the theater, they have the different things that fit within it that not only is giving them an education and it gives them those opportunities to participate as a city, the students are very important to us, along with our citizens, because they provide a lot of the income and a lot of the jobs for people to live here."

He adds they also are trying to create more outdoor recreation activities within the city limits as well.

"We're trying to increase our park amenities, the different features we have out there. We're currently in the process of starting another city park. That one's up and going, providing those opportunities. But the biggest factor is, also trying to give them that basis of there's more to do than just in the Rexburg."

As a large part of the update process Parkinson says the city relies on input from its residents.

"There's an online survey you can go to. You can get to our Web page. And it will actually give you an opportunity to participate in what we want to see happen and what you want to see happen in Rexburg. We would love the input."

He says that input is what allows them to continue to update the plan year after year.

"Citizen input is a great part of that, you know, and we start seeing these things. There are major things that happen that changes the dynamics of the city. When that happens, as a group staff members, we come together and look at that and go, How does this affect the future? Then we look at coming back to our planning and zoning commission, our city council and out and going," Parkinson said. "We may want to look at making some modifications to that and every year we should be looking at and going, are we headed in the right direction? So that's a continual one. The one we're doing now is something it's a complete rewrite because the last rewrite was done in 2008. So we're 14 years out since the last major one."

He says a lot has changed in the area over the years.

"A lot has changed in that last 14 years that this requires a lot of update. There's been new chapters that are required by the state that weren't in the last one that we will be adding into this one. So it's a continual process as a planning and zoning to department more consistently looking at that on how do we improve, how do we do better."

The plan will go through three different phases. Phase one is including the survey the city is asking interested residents to fill out, which can be found here. After phase one the city hopes to hold workshops building on what they learned. With phase three starting the creation of the plan.

Phase one is scheduled to end on August 31, 2022. The team behind the plan is also planning on being a part of the Farmer's Market found at the Madison County Fairgrounds Friday, July 8.

Article Topic Follows: Rexburg
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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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