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Sunday June 25th, 2017 8:24AM

Hall Co. Comprehensive Plan nearly ready for updates after year-long process

By Bryan Pirkle Reporter
Required updates to the Hall County Comprehensive Plan will soon be submitted to state officials, with the finalized submission nearly ready for review by county commissioners.
 
County Administrator Randy Knighton told the commission board at Monday's work session that the updated plan comes on the heels of a year-long information-gathering process, and that the final document should be in their hands within the next few days.
 
"There have been several public meetings and we're at a point now where we're getting very close to having the board consider transmitting the comprehensive plan to state agencies for review," he said. "The executive summary and final draft document should be completed by the end of this week, and I want to be sure that we place that in your hands for your review and consideration."
 
Hall County's current Comprehensive Land Use Plan was formally adopted in 2004, and is updated every 5 years, in accordance with state law. The finalized document, once given the go-ahead by commissioners, will be submitted to the state Department of Community Affairs for final approval.
 
Srikanth Yamala, Hall County's Planning Director, expanded on the topic of the past year's public meetings, events that he said regularly saw 40-50 attendees gathering to offer input.
 
"It's been a little over a year [since the process began]. Last year, we had the initial kick-off meeting, which also kicked-off the online survey - and that survey ran all the way until October of 2016. We had a little over 700 responses to the survey," he explained. 
 
Yamala said a "visioning" workshop was held in June, followed by a neighborhood workshop specifically dealing with the Morningside Heights community in September. The final meeting of 2016 was a "future [land use plan] development workshop" that was conducted in October.
 
"Fast forward to May of this year is when we had the open house, where the future development maps, along with specific strategies, goals and objectives, were presented to the public for their review and comment," he continued.
 
Commissioner Jeff Stowe, in a back-and-forth exchange with Knighton, asked if a final public hearing would be held before the document was submitted.
 
"Are we going to have a public hearing? Are we looking to do that Thursday night, or looking at some other time?"
 
Knighton replied that he would prefer to have all those documents completed and available before any public meetings were held, but that one would be necessary before submitting the document.
 
"Yes," he said. "We would have a public hearing where people could provide any comment on the document before you transmit it."
 
Hall County's consultation team met with several local agencies in forming the plan, as well, with Yamala mentioning the Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, Leadership Hall, Lake Lanier Association and the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers as some of the organizations providing input.
 
Yamala added: "We also reached out to a few individuals with the Hispanic community here in the area, so this is something that we take to heart, the public outreach and engagement."
 
The commission is expected to consider the finalized plan at their meeting on Thursday evening, where public comment would be heard before a final vote is taken.
 
The meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the Hall County Government Center.
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Hall Co. Comprehensive Plan nearly ready for updates after year-long process
Required updates to the Hall County Comprehensive Plan will soon be submitted to state officials, with the finalized submission nearly ready for review by county commissioners.
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