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Pembroke preparing for growth
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At Monday’s Pembroke City Council meeting, Tricia Reynolds with the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center gave a power point presentation describing the work that is ahead for the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which she referred to as the "road map for the city for the next 20 years."

The city and the CGRDC recently entered into a contract to create a plan to help manage the city’s growth. Reynolds said the plan looks at "much more than just development. It also will cover topics such as public safety, population, housing, natural and cultural resources, and community facilities and services."

"Pembroke is on the verge of a great deal of growth due to its ideal location," said Reynolds. "As people discover the town, it will certainly grow. This plan will give city government the tools to properly manage that growth."

Reynolds said the plan itself does not entail laws that prohibit certain types of development, but "it will give them a leg to stand on when faced with developmental issues. When faced with a project that does not mesh with their community, the city can ask the developer ‘does this comply with our comprehensive plan,’ and it will have a legal impact."

Mayor Judy Cook said the first step is to create an advisory committee made up of Pembroke residents "that represent a cross section of this community. We want everyone to be represented in some way, and we are looking to the people to see how they want Pembroke to grow."

Council approved $25,000 to fund the plan. It will be completed by October of 2008. In addition to Pembroke, the CGRDC is in the process of creating similar plans for Richmond Hill, Bryan, Screven, Camden and Effingham counties.

In other business:

- Pembroke Police Chief Bill Collins reported that the new sub-station at 392 South Main Street officially opened earlier that day. He also reported that the department recently received a $10,000 grant from the Department of Community Affairs to go toward equipment for the fatal vision program. Finally, he reported the department is looking to hire three officers to replace recently departed officers Donnie Crosby, Dale Kirkland and Terry Kyle – all of whom transferred to police departments in other cities.

- A city garbage collection penalty fee of 10 percent for delinquent bills was adopted.

- The contract with the Long County Department of Corrections Detention Center was renewed. The contract entails 12 supervised inmates doing miscellaneous city work for an annual $37,500 fee.

• The final reading took place to adopt the adjustment of the height requirement for city buildings from 60 feet to 35 feet.

• Zoning was approved to allow Joe Aldrich to construct a commercial plaza on W. Railroad Street, adjacent to St. Joseph’s.

• A zoning request for an apartment complex on Clara Street was tabled until the Planning and Zoning Department had a chance to properly review the issue and make a recommendation.

• Tonya Raulerson with Planning and Zoning displayed the "Better Hometown" plaque that was recently awarded to the city, thanks to efforts from the Downtown Development Authority.

• A variance to extend the width of the entranceway on Ash Branch to a four-tract duplex project located at Ash Branch and Circle Drive. The city requested this entranceway to the developer in order to alleviate a potential traffic problem on the originally projected entranceway on Circle Drive.

• A variance setback regarding Barrington Pointe subdivision was tabled. An earlier city error in granting the wrong size side setback was acknowledged. The issue was before council because there are two permits pending that are requesting setbacks. Councilman Johnnie Miller made a comment to the effect that many problems have manifested from the Barrington Pointe project.

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