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Comprehensive plan updates will include new focus on housing
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Affordable housing will be a major consideration when Hall County and other local cities begin the arduous process this year of updating their comprehensive plans, which will guide and manage growth until 2040.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners said they will sign off on a $150,000 contract for consulting services related to the plan update.

Hall County’s plan was last updated in 2004, directing new development through 2025. The plan must be completed by June 2017.

Planning Director Srikanth Yamala said it will be critical for the plan to address the county’s changing economic needs when it comes to housing, including evaluating potential changes in land use policy and evolving demographics.

Commissioner Jeff Stowe, who sells insurance at The Norton Agency real estate firm in Gainesville, said housing will undoubtedly be a focus of the new plan given rising costs and shrinking availability.

Yamala said the community assessment aspect of updating the plan will include public involvement and meetings to gather input from local residents and businesses.

Gainesville, Flowery Branch and Oakwood must also update their plans, or begin doing so, this year.