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Regional land use plan gets thumbs up
regional comp plan
CRC Planning Director Tricia Reynolds and CRC Chairman Dan Coty during Wednesday’s meeting at the Richmond Hill Quality Inn. - photo by Photo by Ross Blair
The Coastal Regional Commission, made up of public officials from the 10 coastal Georgia counties, gave a unanimous thumbs up to a draft of the Regional comprehensive land use plan. The motion took place during the CRC’s regular meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Richmond Hill Quality Inn.
The draft is now being sent to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review. The CRC must submit the final draft by June.
Local officials in attendance included Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler, Bryan Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed, Josh Fenn and Sean Register with the Bryan Development Authority and Bryan County Administrator Phil Jones.
A public hearing on the plan also took place during the meeting. There is still time left for to give your input on the plant. The deadline for public comment is April 30.
CRC Planning Director Tricia Reynolds defines a comp plan as a guiding document for future development over the next 20 years. The regional comp plan is using last year’s Bryan County comp plan as well as the recently completed comp plans from the other coastal counties as a baseline.
All the plans were mandated by Governor Sonny Perdue in 2005 in an effort to control growth along Georgia’s coast.
Reynolds told the commission that the comp plan “is not set in stone,” and she realizes demographics will change over the next 20 years. “We plan to look at the plan frequently and make adjustments.”
The following is the vision statement for the plan: “The vision of coastal Georgia is to be a unique and cohesive region based upon innovation and excellence in all we do to preserve, nurture, enhance and develop our abundant human, natural, historic, cultural and economic resources.”
Reynolds said the plan aims to work toward maintaining the following features for Coastal Georgia:
- Preservation and restoration of natural and coastal resources
- Quality growth-mixed use developments
- Walkable communities, clustered development that utilizes infrastructure wisely
- Transportation alternatives
- Abundant greenspace and greenways
- Quality education systems and healthy diversified economy
- Coordinated planning and cooperation among local, regional and state agencies
- Economic development with stimulated investments, an enhanced business environment and quality jobs for area residents
- Livable communities which include those elements that help to maintain independence and quality of life
The draft is available for viewing at Go to “Planning & Government Services” and select “The Regional Plan” from the menu. The website includes contact information for anyone interested in giving their input on the plan.
In other CRC business, former Hinesville Governor Tom Ratcliffe made a motion for the Commission to send a letter to state and federal officials in protest of how the census does not currently count soldiers stationed to this area. The Commission unanimously approved the motion, and a letter is slated to be sent within the week.
Ratcliffe said the census procedure affects potential fundage for Liberty, Bryan, Chatham and other coastal areas where soldiers reside.
Current Hinesville Mayor James Thomas said the way the count occurs now is costing the area over a billion dollars in potential funds over a 10-year period. He said he has been in contact with the mayor of Fayetteville, North Carolina, who is fighting the same fight. He said Fayetteville is considering a lawsuit to change the census rule and coastal Georgia may need to consider that option as well.
CRC Director Allen Burns asked each public official in attendance to encourage the residents in their area to fill out their census forms.
“The census is critical to our funding,” Burns said. “It’s a very simple form this year and I encourage our members to push it.”
Burns said the CRC has census posters and brochures available, and the Commission approved a proclamation endorsing Georgia Census Week.
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