Ed Evans is the director of planning for the city of Aiken .
1. What was 2007 like for the Planning Department?
In addition to providing support to the Planning Commission, Design Review Board and Board of Zoning Appeals with well over 300 applications for various approvals, we completed the Northside Comprehensive Plan; regulations for attached housing, which includes design standards; an access management ordinance to prevent excessive driveways on major roads; an inventory of valuable open spaces; and major revisions to the traffic impact ordinance. ...
2. What's in store for the department for 2008?
We will be assisting the planning commission and city council as they consider expanding the Downtown Overlay District into more of Old Aiken, creating a Highway Overlay District to establish architectural design standards for buildings on major highways, and in preparing a plan for the protection of open space.
3. What are some of the challenges the department faces in the coming years?
As always, the primary challenge is assisting the planning commission and city council in finding the proper balance between the rights of property owners and the need to manage growth so that Aiken's character is preserved and enhanced and the city functions efficiently. ...
4. What makes Aiken's Planning Department different from planning departments in other cities?
What is somewhat unusual is our combination of responsiveness to those seeking approval of proposed projects while still promoting development of high quality that not only meets but exceeds the requirements of regulations.
The tendency is for a planning department to gravitate toward one extreme or the other, but we maintain a good balance between the two.
5. What is the biggest change the department has seen in Aiken in the past few years?
Perhaps the most significant change has been the increased interest in Old Aiken and its desirability as a place to live. The area's wide streets and landscaped parkways, along with the attractive downtown, constitute a unique setting which has and will continue to attract a lot of attention.