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Wednesday May 6th, 2015 5:28AM

GHMPO committee to consider expanding agency's boundaries

By Ken Stanford Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Based on the 2010 Census, the Gainesville Urbanized Area (UZA) has expanded beyond the Hall County boundary.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, UZAs are defined as densely settled core of census tracts with a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile with any census block groups around this core having a density of at least 500 people per square mile.

The Gainesville UZA now includes a small portion of Jackson County to the east, Forsyth County to the west, and Gwinnett County to the south. By Federal regulations, UZAs are required to be incorporated into the planning boundary of a designated metropolitan planning organization.

The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization (GHMPO), therefore, is in the process of entering into agreements with the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and Jackson County to expand its planning area boundary, which will include the Gainesville and Atlanta UZAs in the western part of Jackson County. The remaining portion of the Gainesville UZA in Forsyth and Gwinnett counties will be included as part of the ARC planning boundary.

As a result of this expansion, one new voting member from Jackson County will be added to the GHMPO Technical Coordinating Committee, Citizens Advisory Committee, and Policy Committee. The Technical Coordinating Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee have recommended approval of this proposed planning area boundary expansion.

The GHMPO has begun the process of updating the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan and it will incorporate the new expanded planning boundary.

The Policy Committee will consider these changes when it meets Tuesday at the Hall County Government Center beginning at 10:00.

Also on the agenda are updates on the GHMPO Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan and the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which will incorporate the expanding planning boundary outlined above.

Another meeting dealing with Gainesville area transportation issues is coming up Thursday. That is the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce's annual Transportation Forum which will be held beginning at 11:30 on the Gainesville campus of the University of Georgia. Featured speakers are expected to include:

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