Future Forward plan preparing Ward County for the next two decades

WARD COUNTY, N.D.- Much has changed in Ward County during the past 20 years.

We endured the 2011 flood, one of the worst natural disasters this community has ever seen.

We saw the county's population increase by roughly 10,000 people due to the oil boom.

These events forced our county leaders to react and change with the times, so now their taking a more proactive approach for the next 20 years with the Future Forward plan.

The Future Forward plan isn't here to predict the future, but to plan for what the future might hold in Ward County.

It's broken up into three parts, the comprehensive plan, transportation plan and zoning ordinances. The comprehensive plan will guide zoning ordinances over the next two decades.

This will allow the county to plan for development near infrastructure and avoid sprawl.

But they're also prioritizing agriculture, the county's top economic driver.

As for transportation, that will decide where the county should spend their road dollars.

This was one of the major concerns from the multiple public input meetings that occurred last summer.

“Those aspects we were already aware of but it was good to know that the public is also concerned about those things,” said Ward County Planning & Zoning Administrator Nancy Simpson.

Since then county leaders have put together their rough draft for their plan which will be finalized in March.

Between now and the end of this year they'll be finalizing their zoning ordinances so they can start implementing them for the next 20 years.

“Orderly development is a good thing. You don't want hodgepodge development. I like to go with extreme cases like, you wouldn't want a nuclear power plant next to an elementary school, or right next to your house,” Simspon said.

Creating the foundation for future development for years to come.

For more information on the project you can follow this link to the Ward County website: http://www.futureforward2040.com