Carroll County’s Community Development Department will be speaking with representatives of the municipalities this month as it seeks input in creating a new comprehensive.
County Planner Janet Hyde said Carroll is due for its first update to the plan since 2008, and it must be adopted by the Board of Commissioners before October 2018.
“We did have the kickoff meeting on Sept. 19, then we had a staff meeting on Oct. 5, and we had a steering committee on Oct. 30,” Hyde said.
She said there will be more public meetings later that will allow more officials and residents to have input.
The steering committee consists of Matt Windham of the Carroll County Water Authority, Terry Jones from County County Schools, county Commissioner Michelle Morgan, Donna Lackey of Carroll Tomorrow and Community Development staff.
Hyde plans to meet with the municipalities sometime within the next two weeks, starting with the city of Villa Rica.
“This is to find out where their growth is anticipated because we need to take that into account when we do our future land-use plan,” she said. “From there, we go into more public meetings, and focus groups.”
The actual plan should be drafted and sent to the state Regional Commission by May and to the Department of Community Affairs so that the Carroll County Board of Commissioners can adopt it by September in order to meet the October deadline.
Hyde said the plan will not be as stringent as the one adopted in 2008 due to the DCA changing the rules in March 2014.
“We're now not required to do quite as much as we had to do before since some of those elements are optional,” Hyde said.
But it is important, she said, to get public participation and the department has put together a guideline to get public input.
The plan elements include community goals, needs opportunities, community work program, capital improvement element, economic development, the land-use element, transportation, and housing.
“Some of these are optional, some are required and our plan will need to include most of these in,” said Hyde told the Board of Commissioners last week. “Looking at the plan from 2008, y'all remember that the economic downturn happened in 2008. So that plan was written actually in 2007 so it did not take into account the downturn. The growth was going to be a lot more than what it actually ended up being. So when you look at the land use plan and the future land use, I don't anticipate that you all are going to want to change a whole lot from what was in 2008 because the growth didn't happen the way we thought was gonna happen.”
According to Hyde, one of the most important things that have to be considered are the community goals so that there can be an established vision for the county.
“As the vision for the county as a whole in the future, one of the things that will need to be looked at strongly is community policies,” she said. “Things like new development would be encouraged to locate in this certain area or we wouldn't split agricultural parcels less than four acres or what however you want to establish that policy. So those are the kind of policies that go in the comprehensive plan. ... While this is a 10-year plan we do update the community work program every five years.”
Other aspects will be focused on the land-use plan while transportation and housing are optional elements.
As for local governments, she said her department has to notify all of the municipalities, the Regional Commission and the DCA, then the DCA will, in turn, notify state agencies such as the Department of Transportation, Department Natural Resources and EPD.