December 7, 2017
The Comprehensive Plan Committee will help determine how Jasper County looks in the future. Who is on it and what is their job?
The Comprehensive Plan Committee was appointed at the 12/4/17 BOC meeting. This committee is set up to guide the way the county will look 10 years from now. Only two citizens, Ken McMichael and Mary Patrick, and one staff member, Tracy Travillo Norton, signed up to be on the committee. However, the BOC members went out and solicited people to be on the committee that “agreed to serve if asked.” Those people included Andrew Boyd, Ross Hayes, Adam McGinnis, Gerald Stunkel, Bud Cowan, and Sue Patterson. Pam Mayer with the Chamber of Commerce also asked to be put on the committee.
The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission will be in charge of leading the committee and developing the plan, based on the committee and public input. The county has paid NEGRC $7500 for this service.
The county manager said that there should only be 10-12 people on the committee, but if that were adhered to, only one or two citizens would be able to serve. Comm. Henry and Luke said that fewer elected officials should be on the committee so more citizens could participate. Comm. Henry and Mike Benton will serve for the County, along with P&Z director Shane Sealy. Two people from the City of Monticello, maybe the mayor and City Manager, and two from the City of Shady Dale, the mayor and one other person will also server. David Dyer, Economic Development director will be a member. Altogether, there will be 18 people on the steering committee, 8 citizens and 10 city and county officials and staff.
Here is what the DCA (Department of Community Affairs) says about the Comprehensive Plan Committee and the purpose of the committee.
There are Capital Improvements, Economic Development, and Land Use Elements as well as Community Goals that will be set out in a plan for the next 10 years by the committee. There are “stakeholders” (the elected officials and “leaders”) and then there is the “general public” outlined in the DCA documents.
To read all the DCA guidelines, click here. Note the real name is “Planning Quality Growth” https://www.dca.ga.gov/development/PlanningQualityGrowth/DOCUMENTS/Laws.Rules.Guidelines.Etc/DCARules.LPRs.pdf
DCA has “selling points” that are to be used to convince the public the plan will benefit them. From DCA’s website:
(and the Implementation of Your Plan)
“When your community begins to prepare a new or updated comprehensive plan, or to implement that plan after it is developed, some groundwork is likely to be necessary. The citizens of your community need to know why planning is important and how planning benefits them. This involves some education. But it will also mean that citizens may be asking questions about private property rights, impacts on property taxes and limitations on land uses, as well as other topics. Below are suggestions to help alleviate some of the perceived difficulties/ misconceptions that surround these topics.”
Talking Points: Benefits of Planning and Quality Growth
“It always helps to have the points you want to make clearly outlined. There are several things that planning and plan implementation can do that is beneficial for your community, including:
- Planning helps the local government invest taxpayer money wisely, thus saving taxpayers money
- Private property rights and property values are protected and stabilized.
- There is more transparency and certainty about where development will occur, what it will be like, when it will happen, and how the costs of development will be met.”
Citizens will be welcome and hopefully encouraged to attend these meetings. Such things as zoning areas in the county, infrastructure, and development will be discussed. If you do not participate, do not be surprised when county priorities may be different from what you expected when you moved to Jasper County.
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.