Public hearing set for county plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Planning officials are scheduling public hearings for the end of this month to review the county’s draft of a 20-year development plan.

Planning commissioners encourage the public to attend the hearings to learn and voice their opinions about the plan.

The hearings will be the final stage in the adoption process for the plan. The county’s department of development services and the county planning commission developed the plan over the course of the past two-and-a-half years.

The planning commission will adopt the plan after the public hearing. The county commissioin is expected to consider the plan for ratification during their second meeting in October.

Planning commission chairman Ralph Thomas said the public should expect a presentation of a condensed version of the plan by planning staff. Then, planning commissioners will answer questions from the public for discussion.

&uot;The planning commission’s desire is to get feedback as well as to inform,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;Hopefully, we will address what people gave us as their desires for the future.&uot;

If the plan is adopted, Thomas forecasts an ongoing implementation period. He said the success of the plan depends on coordination between individual cities and the county.

&uot;The success of the plan will depend to a large degree on that effort,&uot; he said.

The comprehensive plan supports a concept of individual villages with community-supporting features such as sidewalks. County commissioner Larry Dillard said he hopes the plan will reinvigorate the county.

&uot;I don’t know why anybody would be opposed to it,&uot; he said. &uot;Hopefully, we can get back to a mode of life some day where children can walk and ride their bikes to school without being in danger, like it was when i was growing up. I think that’s what the people want.&uot;

For Dillard, it’s important to adopt the plan and move forward rather than worrying about whether all of the items in it can be completely implemented. Like Thomas, he said one of the vital factors to making the plan work is cooperation with cities.

&uot;We want our cities to know what our thinking is. We want to see how close we can come to making them alike,&uot; he said