2. Summary of Findings and Conclusions

2. Summary of Findings and Conclusions

The following points summarize existing land use conditions and community design features presented in this chapter. Additionally, various implications associated with existing land use and community design features in Conway are also discussed.

In terms of Conway’s existing land use and development patterns, specific findings include:

  • Based on property assessment data, Conway’s total land area is approximately 42,780 acres. This figure does not include roadways, water bodies and condominium developments. A 2000 land use inventory report indicates that total land area in the town was 46,850.
  • The largest use of land in Conway is undeveloped property, representing approximately 57% the total land area in the community.
  • Approximately 10,450 acres (24% of the total land area) in Conway are used for residential purposes.
  • Commercial land uses account for only about 5% of Conway’s land base.

Based on the town’s existing development regulations and current development patterns, Conway has a considerable amount of vacant land available for development. Specific findings include:

  • Based on Conway’s average absorption of approximately twenty single family dwelling units per year, it would take over 700 years to absorb just the vacant residential land under the high density level (one acre lots), or over 240 years under the medium density level (3 acre lots), or about 140 years under the low density level (5 acre lots).

In terms of community design features, numerous concepts, issues and ideas have been illustrated. Selected design concepts include:

  • Improvement of existing lighting standards under new planning regulations and policies in order to reduce ambient light pollution.
  • Preparation of additional regulations to protect ridgeline development at lower elevations.
  • Evaluation of current sign regulations and consideration of incorporating basic sign design guidelines in terms of form, siting, scale, materials and color, graphics and lettering, international signs, illumination and signage themes.
  • Development of a streetscape master plan to identify opportunities to improve community design.
  • Revisions of existing community design guidelines to feature the individual character of the villages and other corridors that the community wishes to preserve and/or enhance through private development and public improvements.
  • Considerations of creating plans for the development of a shared civic space (municipal campus) near the Police Station and County Court facility.

Based on the existing land use and design concepts presented throughout the chapter, implications about how Conway could change in the future include:

  • Based on the “snapshot” of existing land use conditions in town, it is clear that a substantial amount of Conway’s land area still remains largely undeveloped. However, growth trends discussed in the Population and Housing Chapter of this plan indicates that the town will have to make some important decisions about how the remaining land base will be used to support future growth. These decisions will determine whether or not the land is used in the most efficient way possible to accommodate expected growth, while also not detracting from the natural and scenic beauty, and perceived high quality of life associated with this open space.
  • In terms of community design issues a variety of conceptual design elements have been discussed for the town as a whole, as well as for respective villages. During the numerous public meetings held during the master plan update, participants have clearly stated that community design elements are becoming increasingly important to the character and attractiveness of Conway. As a tourist and retail destination, the town needs to pay special attention to existing design features throughout the community and provide approaches for considering design related impacts during the review of development proposals. This attention may come in the form of amendments to planning regulations (zoning ordinance, etc.) and policies, devoting additional resources and investment in understanding community design initiatives, and establishing partnerships with local businesses, non-profit agencies and community groups to work through design issues on a local level. Highway and road improvements slated to proceed throughout the town over the next decade present an excellent opportunity to work towards incorporating these design concepts throughout Conway.