April 25, 2018
Approximately 25 Jasper County citizens, who included some elected officials and Jasper County employees, discussed the Land Use Maps last night (April 24). The land use maps show what areas of the county are designated as Agriculture (Farming, forestry, hunting, and fishing), Industrial, Residential, and Parks & Recreation.
At this link, you can see the Future Land Use Map-2025, which was developed in 2005, the original 2005 map, and the City of Monticello and City of Shady Dale maps developed in 2005.
Jasper County has a lot of “green,” which is Agriculture land. About 80% of the people present voiced strong support for keeping our county rural with plenty of farming and rural areas. A few said they preferred the City of Monticello to have more work/live/shop areas so people could walk or ride their bike where they wanted to go. Rusty Bullard seemed to sum up a basic fact—either you want to live in a city where everything is close by or you want to live in a rural area.
The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan meeting last night was to determine if the Future Land Use Map–2045, would be the same as the 2025 map or if it would change some. The facilitators from NEGRC said the Comprehensive Plan was to “build a place where everyone wants to live in the future.”
Ken McMichael brought up the “fact” that Jasper County now required “Conservation Subdivisions” which would provide greenspace and value to the subdivision. He was immediately corrected by those that had attended or knew about the Peninsula property on Jackson Lake that was allowed to become a conventional subdivision on 232 acres with no specified greenspace. The facilitator said if people felt strongly about this, the Comprehensive Plan should state that the County should adhere to Conservation Subdivisions.
Kathy Mudd said the required 5 acre lots would help keep Jasper County rural, but she thought 3 acre lots would be better and more affordable for people wanting to build a house.
Code enforcement and the lack thereof was brought up and discussed. People said the county should be more proactive with code enforcement. Again, the facilitator said that prioritizing code enforcement should be put in the Comprehensive Plan if people felt strongly about it.
Gay Morrison said the county should utilize the AG (agriculture) designation by promoting organic and holistic farming and natural foods. She emphasized this would also help keep Jasper County rural. It was mentioned that we do have at least one farm doing this and provides a co-op and sells at the Market on the Square.
Eva Kennedy, one of the facilitators, mentioned Special Events, such as wedding venues, and those participating said, “Not in AG. It only stresses the animals and the people that live there.” This subject did not get much traction.
Industrial designation was brought up and there was concern that it would bring more traffic and the roads in Jasper County are already bad now. Jasper County does not have the infrastructure for more and more trucks. Charles Forsythe said we do have rail lines through the county that could be utilized. David Dyer said 6 miles of those lines were being used at present by various industries in the county.
When the Future Land Use map was put on the table, Rusty Bullard said that we needed to look at it and keep in mind that if someone wanted to do something different than what the area was designated, they would have to start with a rezoning request. Most people in the meeting didn’t realize this. He continued by saying that by reviewing the request at a rezoning hearing, it could be decided if a development did or did not fit in the area. Justin Creighton, also from NEGRC, said, “The land use map is a guide, a vision of our community. It determines where particular development is appropriate.”
The future population of Jasper County was also discussed. In 2005, the projected population for 2025 was 50,000. Mary Patrick said this was because Jasper County and counties in this area were trying to justify Bear Creek Reservoir and the need for water. The current population of Jasper County is around 14,000 and it is expected to be 13,626 in 2022.
The meeting adjourned after 1.5 hours.
There will be another meeting in approximately a month. Plan to attend and be part of the future look of 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.