One reason planners need patience is that it takes years for what they do to come to fruition.
The Nov. 16 Citistates Report, in the article "Ring Around Charlotte," praised the town of Locust in Stanly County for its New Urban-style downtown plan of a few years back.
But Locust was, in fact, years ahead of many towns in the state in adopting a form-based town code. It adopted its town plan and code in 1996-97, under the guidance of David Walters of the UNC Charlotte College of Architecture. I remembered his role and asked him for more details:
I did the Locust town plan and form-based zoning code in 1996-97. The town employed UNCC on a “contract for services” basis to use my skills and time. This small grant, $20,000 if my memory serves, covered my expenses, wages plus expenses for a student assistant. This was the same arrangement by which I did the codes for Davidson (with Tim Keane) and Huntersville (with Ann Hammond), and guided Cornelius towards their new code, all between 1994 and 1996.
More recently we have used a similar formula to produce well-received master plans for Mineral Springs (2005) and Wesley Chapel (2007-08) in Union County, using a graduate class I used to teach.
In Locust, the town debated long and hard about whether to take up the NCDOT’s plan for a bypass that would effectively kill their town by taking all the traffic and commerce away, or accepting that they would lose the mini-downtown to the big highway and then plan for a new town center on some open land.
To their eternal credit, the town’s committee voted to pursue the latter course, so in my plan and code I showed a "city center” area backed with higher density “neighborhood residential.”
It took nearly ten years to come to some fruition, but that’s about the average time for something like that. ... The main credit goes to the Locust citizens who had the foresight to plan their town a decade into the future.