The second and final round of public workshops for the Bryan County Comprehensive Plan was this week in Pembroke and Richmond Hill, hosted by the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center.
The purpose of the meetings was to give the public the opportunity to review the community agenda and future development maps for the county and two cities, according to CGRDC Historic Planner Mary Beth Bass.
Bass said the public workshops have been an important part of the overall planning process.
"The public’s participation in this process is vital, as it is the public that holds their respective local governments accountable to implementing the comprehensive plan," she said. "By having already engaged the public in this planning process of issues and policies, political leaders and administrative officials have an idea of what their community will support and to what extent."
Local resident Lynda Morse, who attended a workshop Thursday, agreed.
"This plan shows how much green space there is in Bryan County – including right where the proposed conference center is supposed to go," Morse said. "The county has paid to have this study done to help plan the future of Bryan County. We can all look at these maps and when the commission and councils are considering requests for new development, we can make sure things are going as planned."
Thursday, the CGRDC gave an overview from the first set of workshops, held in February, when 43 residents participated in an interactive polling session.
Based on the poll results, Bass said they were able to "create a series of policies and implementation measures to appropriately address the issues discussed."
Here’s a general summary of what the polls said:
There were 26 residents polled from unincorporated areas of Bryan County. They said issues of importance are to preserve green space and rural character, protect environmentally sensitive areas and manage septic systems. Issues they felt had limited support are maintaining a diverse housing stock, job creation, development of a county-wide trail network and preserving the character of the crossroad communities (Blitchton, Ellabell, Groveland, Keller and Lanier).
There were four residents polled from Pembroke. They said issues of importance are to preserve green space and rural character, plan for connectivity in new developments and job creation. Issues with limited support are maintaining compatible land uses around Fort Stewart, maintaining a diverse housing stock and providing services in a more cooperative way.
There were 11 residents polled from Richmond Hill.
They said issues of importance are to preserve green space and rural character, manage development of corridors and gateways (interchanges at I-16/280 and I-95/Belfast Siding), protect environmentally sensitive areas and plan for connectivity in new developments.
Issues with limited support include preserving the character of the crossroad communities, concentrating development in nodes and maintaining compatible land uses around Fort Stewart.
To view the county’s community agenda or the draft of the comp plan, visit www.coastalgeorgiardc.org and click "planning services," then select "local plan review."