Members of the Stakeholders Committee updating the Oconee County Comprehensive Plan spent two hours last week reacting to a series of recommendations on four topics that will be covered by the Plan.
The recommendations were spelled out in sheets prepared by the staff of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, which is directing work on the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, and were based on earlier meetings of the Stakeholders Committee and its three subcommittees.
Those subcommittees, dealing with land use, transportation and infrastructure, and parks, recreation and greenspace, are scheduled to meet again this week and next.
At 6:30 p.m. on July 25, the NEGRC staff, on behalf of the Stakeholders Committee, is to give a report to the public on work on the Comprehensive Plan at a public forum at the Community Center in Oconee Veterans Park.
Four Groups, Four Tables
Justin Crighton, the NEGRC planner assisting the county in developing the Comprehensive Plan update, had assigned the members of the Stakeholders Committee to four groups before the meeting began on Tuesday night.
He also had assembled four work tables, each with what he called a “preliminary list” of “needs and opportunities” in the four topic areas.
During the course of the evening, each of the four groups visited each of the four tables and went over the lists. An NEGRC staff member led the discussion and took notes.
“What I want to walk away with tonight is a final list of needs and opportunities that will form the basis for the Plan going forward,” Crighton said before the Committee members began their discussions.
Four Topic Areas
The topic areas were: (1) land use, (2) transportation and infrastructure, (3) population, economic development and (4) parks, recreation and greenspace.
The Land Use Summary sheet said the Stakeholder Committee wants to “preserve and enchance the rural character in the county’s southern portion” and “promote growth that contributes to the character and vision for our community.”
The Transportation and Infrastructure sheet said “Truck traffic through the county is adding to congestion issues, especially in downtowns” and that the county should “consider designating dedicated truck routes through the county.”
The Economic Development sheet said the county’s population is expected to grow by 9.2 percent by 2022 and the county should “continue focus on identified clusters in economic development efforts” such as diversified manufacturing, food production, construction technologies and health care services.
The Parks, Recreation, Greenspace sheet said the county needs “more park space at all scales” and should “amend the Unified Development Code to require more greenspace and connections to community from new developments.”
Video And Sheets
Nineteen members of the 29-member Joint Comprehensive Plan Stakeholders Committee attended the Tuesday night meeting at the Community Center in Veterans Park.
As the groups moved from table to table, I moved around with my video camera, picking up parts of the conversations of each group and at each table.
The room was noisy, and the Stakeholder members were speaking to each other, so it isn’t possible to hear all of the conversation. At the same time, it is possible to get a sense of the conversation that took place from the video, which is below.
I’ve also scanned the four sheets distributed and put them on my Oconee County Observations box.net site.
NOTE: Crighton sent out an email at 8:43 a.m. on June 19 scheduling the Public Forum for 6:30 p.m. on July 25. The time and date I used in the original post came from the county web site. I apologize for the confusion.
The "four sheets distributed" (requiring turning the monitor on its side to read) were pretty broad. Like: "This would be nice."
These citizen meetings only serve to increase my cynicism.
Let's get in a room and talk about the next few decades about very complex issues (high-dollar, detailed engineering based on guesses) driven by developers with shiny eyes rubbing their hands in anticipation of huge profits, to make a plan which may-or may not-have any authority whatsoever.
Every re-zone, every building plan, every high-profit ground-breaking still will go before a Board of Commissioners who may-or may not-follow these "plans."
What a load.
Sorry about the document. I have rotated it.
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