The last public hearing for the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the city of Richmond Hill took place on June 10. This was the last step before the plan is joined with both the county and Pembroke plans for implementation.
The plan will next be sent to the Department of Community Affairs for review before coming before council in October for official adoption.
So what exactly is the Comprehensive Land Use Plan? It is the guidebook for city and county officials for development and growth. The state has mandated that each city and county must adopt such a plan.
The document is a result of many meetings that were held by a group of 15 Richmond Hill volunteers that comprised an Advisory Committee. Participating were Mayor Richard Davis, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Billy Albritton, Billy McGrath of the BoE, Nevin Patton of First Bank, Richmond Place Homeowner’s Association President Christy Hayes, Southeastern Bank President Derrick Smith, Planning and Zoning Chairman Les Fussell, City Councilperson Marilyn Hodges, realtor Alice Steyaart, City Manager Mike Melton, Planning and Zoning Director Steve Scholar, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Brian Baraniak, Main Street Homeowner’s Association President Nevin Brown, engineer David Aspinwall and Father Joe Smith of St. Anne’s.
Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center Planning Director Tricia Reynolds, who is heading the comp plan, said she was glad to see members of city council and planning and zoning participate in the forums because, "these are some of the folks that will have hands on in enforcing this document as they have to decide whether or not future development proposals are in compliance with the comp plan."
"The citizen involvement in Richmond Hill was enthusiastic and productive," Reynolds said in reference to the input from the Advisory Committee.
The document addresses issues such as a zoning ordinance update, consideration of design standards, expansion of the bicycle and pedestrian trail network, continued support of efforts to develop community facilities - such as the conference center, and collaborating with the BoE to address traffic congestion and participation in regional public transit.
"It was that group who came up with the vision, the issues and opportunities, the policies and the implementation measures of this comp plan, and we believe we have created some solid guidelines for the future of Richmond Hill."
The following is an excerpt from the comp plan's Vision for Richmond Hill:"
"Richmond Hill is a well-managed, growing community, ideally situated along Georgia’s scenic coast, steeped in heritage and local pride, with a commitment to its military neighbors and to maintaining the quality of life for future generations...
Our goals are to promote smart growth practices while preparing for economic development opportunities and anticipated increases in population: where sense of community is enhanced through responsible governance, leadership and preservation ethics....
Our priorities include: encouraging livability and diversity of housing options for all residents; promoting passion for progress and uniqueness of place; maintaining a sense of public safety and security; balancing the need for economic growth, environmental protection and quality government services."