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Public wanted at county planning session

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Members of the public are invited to the kickoff meeting for an update to a state-mandated plan intended to be a “vision statement” for county.

The Pickens County Joint Comprehensive Plan must be completely revised every 10 years, and updated every five years. The last update was in 2013. 

Pickens County Planning & Development Director Richard Osborne said, “This is a locally, citizen-driven plan. We want business owners, farmers, residents to be involved, and they can be involved in the area of their interest. Say you’re interested in downtown Jasper, you can focus on that.”

Similar to the comprehensive plan adopted in 2008 and revised in 2013, there are  separate sections for Jasper, Nelson, Talking Rock; unincorporated communities like Blaine, Hinton, and Tate; developments like Bent Tree and Big Canoe; as well as larger areas like conservation areas in the east or agricultural areas in the west, depending on what community residents, property owners, and others want. 

Elected officials from Pickens County, and from the cities of Nelson, Talking Rock and Jasper, have been invited and are crucial to the process, he added.

“This plan is a general vision for the future,” Osborne said. “It’s one big document but it has many parts. It’s not just for the county [government]. It’s not one-size fits all. Down the road elected officials can use it in the decision-making process. It serves as a foundation for those decisions.” 

Osborne said the plan could impact issues like zoning, emergency management planning, the county’s code of ordinances, and public safety.

The first public discussion meeting for the Pickens County Joint Comprehensive Plan will be on Tuesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Pickens County Administration Building at 1266 E. Church Street, Jasper.

A representative from Northwest Georgia Regional Commission (NWGRC) will do all coordination during the process and work with local government staff members, elected officials, citizens, business owners to make the update, which is not expected to be completed until next year. There are no additional costs to taxpayers for this service. 

  “This is a nine-month process,” Osborne said. “This is just the kickoff meeting and there will be plenty of opportunities in the future for people to get involved. This will not be finalized until early 2018.”

  The comprehensive plan update must be recommended for approval by NWGRC and the Department of Community Affairs and approved by all local jurisdictions on or before June 30, 2018. The draft must be ready by March 2018.

  During the first public hearing, the NWGRC representative will give an overview of the process, as well as goals and objectives. Elements of long-range planning that must be included in the plan are community goals, needs and opportunities, the community work program, and land use. Optional elements of the plan are economic development, housing, and transportation.

  “Each element of the plan is developed with public participation,” Osborne said in an email. “Critical to development of the plan is having a good steering/stakeholder committee. 

  Throughout the process, the public can contact Ethan Calhoun with NWGRC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Mr. Realist
-1 #1 Mr. Realist 2017-04-26 14:22
6pm? Many working folks can't make it to a 6pm meeting. Meetings should be at earliest 7pm or 7:30pm at latest. It's also obvious nothing happens at these meetings as nothing of substance has seem to have changed from these last meetings. Truckload of work needed from zoning, building standards and infrastructure to move the needle forward. Also is this process used to consolidate services to maximize efficiencies among local government? Is local government mandated to follow through this action plan or is just "show and tell" for Community Affairs?
Maureen C. Allen
-2 #2 Maureen C. Allen 2017-04-27 17:02
It might be helpful for the County to provide a survey, if that hasn't already been done--via the Progress or at local businesses--pro viding an additional opportunity for members of the community to comment. The process offers immense potential, as you noted, for streamlining coordination and efficiency among municipalities, to the benefit of all. I would like achievement measurements incorporated into the plan, to be publicly shared annually. Using the plan merely as a decision guide for future county officials hardly seems worth the effort, when timely, on-demand research into specific issues is readily available.

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