County’s Comprehensive Plan Updates to Focus on Growth

by Cammie Bagley (WNEG Radio)



Adam Hazell with the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission was at the public hearing yesterday for the joint comprehensive plan for Stephens County and the cities of Martin and Avalon.
According to Hazell, the comprehensive plan must be updated every five years. He says that changes are being included in the new plans for Stephens County.
“The biggest thing that the county is looking at has to do with managing growth and where they’re trying to attract certain growth,” said Hazell. “Protecting the farm areas and encourage that area to sustain itself and make sure that the State Route 17 has what it can sustain in terms of manageable utilities and infrastructure. The cities of Martin and Avalon are looking at what they can do to retain their identity in the midst of what might be some changes in growth coming upward from the Lavonia area. But for the rest of the county, there’s not that much that’s changing in Stephens County.”
Hazell said that comprehensive plans have two main purposes.
“One is on the local front, you want to make sure that your tax dollars are being used efficiently,” said Hazell. “And this is one of the processes that is used to ensure that elected leaders are taking stock of what they have and being thoughtful in what they want to do for the future. That they’re not just acting on a whim, but trying to figure out what’s the best way to grow the community in a way that the citizens prefer. From a state perspective, these documents are used for compliance sake.”
Key stakeholders in the community as well as an advisory committee that was appointed helped contribute to updating the comprehensive plan.
Last night’s hearing was the second public hearing on behalf of the county and there have also been hearings for Avalon and Martin.
Hazell said they’re hoping for adoption of the comprehensive plan in the next month.