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Long Range Planning


Master Plans

Long Range Plans serve as a guide for making future decisions concerning land use, zoning, transportation improvements, open space, and other capital improvements.  They also serve to identify opportunities for commercial revitalization, economic development, and mixed-use development.

The community plays a key role in developing these types of plans. By participating in the planning process, residents, business, and other stakeholders can channel neighborhood insights and other suggestions to planners who can incorporate those ideas into plans. Citizens and community committee members can participate in the planning process through public forums, surveys, and focus groups.

Long Range Plans can also lead to better urban design at the local level.  Area plans can improve the design and management of public space (i.e. the ‘public environment’, ‘public realm’ or ‘public domain’), and the way public places are experienced and used. Public space includes all spaces used freely on a day-to-day basis by the general public, such as streets, plazas, parks, and public infrastructure.

The Town of Spencer is expecting growth as North Carolina continues to exceed national averages. In preparation for the effects of growth a new Spencer Development Ordinance was developed and adopted in 2020-21 to replace the previous zoning, subdivision, and flood ordinances with a new format that modernizes standards and specifications for land use, development, and new subdivisions.

The Town of Spencer’s Planning staff works to prepare for future growth with long range planning tools such as the Land Use Plan and small area plans.


Master Plans

Master Plans

Land Use Plan – updated June, 2022

In August of 2008, the Board of Aldermen adopted the Town of Spencer, North Carolina Land Use Plan 2025. Per suggestions in that plan and requirements of NCGS 160D, in 2022 the Town reviewed and updated that plan. This update process was done by Town staff and the Town’s Planning Board. Recognizing new trends, the planning effort identified specific areas, corridors, and even individual properties that deserve additional planning scrutiny. As a part of the update, these areas are defined as amendments to Section 5 of the original plan. Read the full updated Land Use Plan

Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan

The Town of Spencer a Parks & Recreation Master Plan in September 2014. Even though system-wide parks & recreation master plans are typically in place for ten years, the Town felt that after only seven years an update to the plan would be beneficial on many fronts and adopted an update in April of 2022. This update is to be used in conjunction with the 2014-2024 Town of Spencer Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan. As part of the update, it is important to understand what elements of the current park system have been improved or expanded upon because of the plan. Read the full Town of Spencer Parks and Rec Comprehensive Master Plan – 2022 Update (Amended 2023)

Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies (CORE) Strategic Plan

In November of 2023, the Board of Aldermen adopted the Creating Outdoor Recreation Economies (CORE) Strategic Plan. Through CORE, the Town of Spencer collaborated with the N.C. Department of Commerce, Rural Economic Development Division staff members and local stakeholders through a strategic planning process to identify and develop outdoor recreation assets that present economic growth opportunities. The plan proposes strategies, goals, objectives, and actions that communities can take to increase economic vitality by leveraging outdoor recreation. The CORE Plan derives from a multi-month planning process of a working group composed of Spencer citizens and members of surrounding communities with a wide variety of expertise in outdoor recreation, community event planning and volunteerism.

CORE Vision Statement: Located in the heart of the Piedmont, about an hour’s drive from Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston Salem, and cradled by the beautiful Yadkin River, Spencer will continue to grow its economic base by expanding and supporting the local outdoor recreational economy.  Emphasizing recreational experiences for all levels of skill, fitness, and ability, Spencer will combine riverfront development, the NC Transportation Museum, Stanback Forest and other amenities to become the center of a region filled with social engagement, family entertainment, healthy lifestyle options, environmental stewardship, and togetherness.

Read the full CORE Strategic Plan

Bike and Pedestrian Plan

In 2014, the Towns of Spencer and East Spencer received a Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The purpose of the Plan is to evaluate, assess, and make recommendations regarding bicycle and pedestrian needs for the Towns of Spencer and East Spencer for 2015 – 2025. This plan establishes clear, logical, and precise guidelines that can be used for the future development and growth of Spencer and East Spencer’s Bicycle and Pedestrian System. Any good investment provides a beneficial return. Bicycle and pedestrian facilities provide a great return on the investment required to implement if properly planned, built, and maintained. Key benefits include connectivity, health, economic and environmental benefits.

Towns of Spencer and East Spencer Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
Plan – Bike & Pedestrian Master Plan.pdf

Related Plans

Rowan County Parks 2016 Master Plan