Madison County Planning Commission Chairman Wayne Douglas told commissioners March 6 that he believes the planning commission needs to remove itself from the ongoing update to the comprehensive land use plan.
The plan outlines where and how the county should grow. It includes both written guidelines and a land use map that shows areas of high and low-density development, such as where subdivisions should go, where farm land should be preserved and where industry needs to be.
The planning commission worked on that update in recent months and created a map that set up growth areas along major highway corridors. The commission sought help with the written portion of the plan from the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, which offers such aid to counties and municipalities. The goal is to have the plan completed by June 30.
Douglas told commissioners that he feels the process has been compromised. He said he was asked by commissioner Tripp Strickland if it was OK to bring ag representative Terry Chandler to a meeting with the regional commission. Douglas said it was, but he said it should have only been to listen, not to open it up for input. If it was for input, he said, then it should have been a public meeting. Douglas said that the regional commission altered the plan to fit what the Farm Bureau had wanted.
“It’s basically the same map we have now,” said Douglas.
The chairman said he feels the whole process needs to go back to square one.
“In my mind, we need to pull out of setting this up,” said Douglas of the planning commission’s involvement in the comprehensive plan update.
Strickland said he wasn’t trying to compromise the process. He said that neither he nor Chandler called the regional commission to try to have the plan altered.
The discussion came during a three-and-a-half hour county commissioners meeting March 6. The BOC heard suggestions to hire a private contractor to oversee the comprehensive land use update. The group agreed to establish a 90-day moratorium on residential rezonings, poultry house permits and paving projects while they study long-range planning. They did not take a vote on whether or not to hire anyone to help them.