Fort Bragg Joint Land Use Study - Fayetteville, NC

FortBraggBenchmark Planning has been selected to prepare the Fort Bragg Joint Land Use Study.  The massive growth on Fort Bragg has spawned much private sector development in the surrounding municipalities and counties – particularly in the five-mile area encircling Fort Bragg’s boundaries.  Much of the ensuing development (mainly in the past eight years since the last JLUS was completed) may be incompatible with the military training mission.  Fort Bragg is a major US Army installation covering an area of over 251 square miles and containing over 162,000 acres of land.  It has the largest military population of any US Army post – approximately 145,519 people in 2014 (including both soldiers and their dependents).  Over the past thirty years Fort Bragg has experienced a huge construction boom – expanding from 23 million square feet of building space in 1985 to 52.2 million square feet in 2014.  It is also the home of the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), which is collocated with the US Army Reserve Command, the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).

Multi-Jurisdictional Land Use Plan – City of Sanford, Lee County & Town of Broadway, NC

TobaccoFarm LeeCountyThe City of Sanford, Lee County and the Town of Broadway are working together to prepare a multi-jurisdictional land use plan.  The land use plan is intended to serve as both a physical and policy plan to guide each jurisdiction over the next 10 to 20 years. The plan will focus on helping elected officials and citizens make informed decisions concerning land use and development.  As part of the planning process, focus group meetings with stakeholders will be conducted to receive guidance and feedback on the topics covered by the plan. The updated plan will establish meaningful and achievable goals, as well as strategies and policies for the implementation of the plan. Benchmark Planning was selected to lead the planning process.

Strategic Planning Retreat – Downtown Raleigh Alliance, NC

RaleighDowntownRecently, Benchmark facilitated the annual strategic planning retreat for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA). The DRA is an award-winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to continue the revitalization of Raleigh’s downtown by enhancing its quality of life and contributing to its economic success. On a day-to-day basis, DRA provides six core services designed to support its primary stakeholders (property owners, government officials, business owners): 1. Safety, Hospitality & Clean Ambassadors; 2. Strategic Branding & Community Communications; 3. Special Events Production; 4. Retail Attraction & Merchant Promotions; 5. Strategic Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement; and 6. Strategic Planning.

Downtown Urban Design Plan - City of Concord, NC

concorddowntownBenchmark Planning was recently commissioned to prepare a Downtown Urban Design Plan for the City of Concord, NC.  The transformative plan will be based upon significant stakeholder and focus group outreach that will include a week-long design charrette.  The plan will examine existing conditions, previous studies, market potential and a recent parking study.  The plan will recommend conceptual streetscape improvements along with development recommendations for opportunity sites in order to establish a clear framework for investment in the city’s thriving downtown.

Comprehensive Land Use & Transportation Plan - City of Aiken, SC

aikenThe City of Aiken, SC  (pop. 29,524) recently commissioned Benchmark Planning to prepare an update to its comprehensive plan. With a thriving historic core that represents one of the few planned cities in the South of its vintage, the city has blossomed over the years into a destination for equestrian activities and golfing. Located in close proximity to both the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and Augusta, GA, Aiken has benefitted significantly from the economic growth in the region. The focus of the planning effort will be to establish a framework for continued growth and economic development that also preserves the city’s character.

Small Area Transportation Plan - New Bern, NC

New BernBenchmark was selected as part of the Davenport transportation planning team to conduct a transportation planning study to guide development patterns along Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard (US 17 Business) between Trent Road and McCarthyBoulevard. The New Bern Area MPO identified numerous projects that are planned for the area, and asked the team to ensure that the transportation network was adequately planned to support them. The study provided both short and long term recommendations to achieve the goals.

Performance Audit - City of High Point, NC

high point ncThe City of High Point, NC  (pop. 108,629) has recently selected Benchmark Planning to conduct a performance audit of the Planning and Development Department. The audit is intended to identify opportunities for improvement in existing policies and procedures, while incorporating best practices into the current business operations of the department’s  Development Services and Inspection Services divisions. The primary focus of the audit will be to evaluate the department’s organizational structure, employee workloads, and whether the North Carolina Building Codes and other state and local regulations are being enforced in a fair, consistent and timely manner. The audit will also gauge public sentiment regarding the department’s service and make recommendations to ensure that the department’s customers are receiving the highest quality services possible.

Permitting and Code Enforcement Services Audit - Jackson County, NC

jacksoncoBenchmark Planning was selected to perform an audit of the permitting and code enforcement services for Jackson County, NC. Benchmark was tasked with identifying specific opportunities for improvement in existing policies and procedures, providing recommendations on how the industry’s best practices could be implemented into the current business operations of Permitting and Code Enforcement.   The audit evaluated the current organizational structure and operational efficiencies, while confirming that the North Carolina State Building Code and other state and local regulations applicable to the department were being enforced. Benchmark also assessed staffing levels/needs, current ordinance provisions and schedules of enforcement (turnaround time). The audit also included a regional comparison, and a survey of the general public, elected officials, staff and frequent permitting customers.

Zoning Ordinance Update - Onslow County, NC

onslowOnslow County (pop. 187,589) has selected Benchmark Planning to prepare a major overhaul to its Zoning Ordinance.  The primary purpose of this project is to develop a modern, user-friendly and streamlined ordinance that reflects the community’s goals related to land use and development. Major components of the project include the preparation of a full range of design standards for nonresidential development, revising the procedural aspects of the ordinance to reflect current best practices, the addition of new general and overlay districts that are tailored to meet implementation goals of adopted plans, and a general review of land use compatibility standards related to military operational and training impacts associated with Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Fort Hood Joint Land Use Study - Killeen, TX

forthoodThe City of Killeen (pop. 138,154) recently selected Benchmark and its partners White & Smith, and Marstel-Day to prepare the Fort Hood Joint Land Use Study.  The study partners include the cities of Killeen, Copperas Cove, Gatesville, Harker Heights, Nolanville, Lampasas, Temple and Belton; the counties of Bell and Coryell; Fort Hood; and the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance.  The primary focus of the study is an evaluation of the compatibility of land use and development activity in civilian communities with air and ground operations, training, testing and power projection missions conducted at Fort Hood. The goal of the study is to identify ways that Fort Hood and the neighboring civilian communities can work together cooperatively to encourage compatible growth and help to ensure the long term viability and sustainability of Fort Hood’s mission.

Shaw AFB Joint Land Use Study - Sumter, SC

Shaw air force base 2Benchmark Planning, along with partners White & Smith and Marstel-Day have been selected to prepare a Joint Land Use Study for Shaw AFB and Poinsett Range located in Sumter County, SC. The Joint Land Use Study is intended to assist the community, in partnership with Shaw AFB and the 20th Fighter Wing, in preparing for an eventual transition to F-35 aircraft operations at the installation. Specifically, the JLUS will provide the community with an analysis of potential land use compatibility issues related to noise and safety impacts associated with aircraft operations originating from Shaw and provide recommendations and strategies to foster compatible growth and preserve the critical training and operational missions of Shaw AFB and Poinsett Range.

Sign Ordinance Update - Concord, NC

CONCORD dtConcord, NC (pop. 78,066) has recently selected Benchmark Planning to lead the City's Sign Regulations update to address changing standards and techonology in the sign development/manufacturing industry as well as changes in advertising needs/methods for local businesses.  Concord is on the northern border of Charlotte, NC and is home to several large tourism draws including the Lowes Motor Speedway, Dragway, Concord Mills Mall, and Great Wolf Lodge.  Concord is also the proud home of Carolina’s Medical Center and an array of related medical operations facilities. In addition, Concord continues to grow its economoy with industral and distribution facilities being located in its International Business Park.  The updated sign regulations will relflect the character and context of the location of each commercial district, from downtown to the interstate commerce and tourist areas.

Comprehensive Plan - Mount Airy, NC

MtAiryThe City of Mount Airy (pop. 10,417), is located in the Yadkin Valley wine region with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the rugged pinnacle of nearby Pilot Mountain.  Benchmark is preparing the city’s very first Comprehensive Plan, building on previous land use and strategic planning efforts, engaging citizens, business leaders and elected officials through a participatory process.

Click here to see an implementation project developed during the process:

Rail-Served Industrial Site Evaluation - NC Railroad Company

linwoodyardThe North Carolina Railroad Company, founded in 1849, is a private corporation created to attract development and promote jobs through investments in the State.  The NCRR freight rail line directly serves hundreds of employers and three military installations in 16 counties via its long-term agreement with Norfolk Southern.  As important, the railroad’s value to economic development continues to help sustain and grow our entire state’s economy through connections with other railroads, intermodal terminals, and freight hubs.

In early 2015, in order to promote the importance of rail-served industries, which create jobs across the state, the NCRR is undertaking an unprecedented inventory of rail-capable properties that are available for new industry.  There are over 3,250 miles of freight rail lines across the state.  The NCRR has commissioned Benchmark and Greenfield to perform this study. 

The goal of the study is to identify both existing and potential rail-served industrial sites in order to provide a broad portfolio of options for various types of rail users and make this information available to the greater economic development community.  This portfolio will allow NCRR to gain a sense of which sites optimize the state’s ability to attract industry and stimulate investment.

Comprehensive Plan - Waxhaw, NC

waxhawdowntownWaxhaw, a historic town of 11,295, is located in the southern Piedmont region of North Carolina, approximately twenty miles south of Charlotte. Established in 1889, Waxhaw has a rich history that spans several decades. Waxhaw is striving to strike a healthy balance between growth pressures from the Charlotte metropolitan region and the preservation of their historic character. Benchmark has been hired to help the Town overhaul its current comprehensive plan that was adopted in 2009.

Design Workshop - Greensboro, NC

Greensboro4Change is coming to Lawndale Drive in Greensboro, NC (pop. 279,639). Over the next decade, planned investments in the transportation network and public facilities located along the corridor will result in additional growth pressures in the corridor.Benchmark was a key team member in the mulit-day, multi-disciplinary design workshop to develop a shared vision for the future character of Lawndale Drive and guide future growth decisions.

The workshop helped lead to the development of a set of tools and strategies for the City to use in supporting stability in the neighborhoods adjacent to Lawndale Drive while accommodating anticipated growth.  The workshop was part of the larger Piedmont Together design charrettes that Benchmark was selected to participate in with Design Link, a program of the Center for Creative Economies.


Land Use Plan - Lumberton, NC

5thstBridgeThe City of Lumberton (21,500 pop.) is working with Benchmark to prepare a land use plan that will help transform the City’s future. The draft plan includes a detailed land use analysis and recommendations including extensive recommendations for the downtown, Interstate 95, major corridors, industrial areas and the airport. Public input into the plan has included over 675 resident surveys and over 800 participants through social media and the project website. The plan will be completed in April of 2015.