Gainesville comprehensive plan open house
When: 9 a.m. to noon today
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main St., Gainesville
It's time for Gainesville residents to decide how they want their city to look in the future.
Gainesville's planning staff is hosting an open house and public comment session this morning as they begin to hash out the details of the city's next 20 years.
The staff are creating the next comprehensive land use plan, which is a blueprint that outlines community development goals and guidelines.
"This open house is comprehensive planning 101 for the community," said Matt Tate, the city's planning manager and comprehensive plan project manager. "We'll have several stations set up for the public to give input."
The stations will include information about the different planning elements, such as demographics, economic development, affordable housing, utility infrastructure, transportation, community amenities and historic preservation.
"There's also an area for folks to come in and give input as far as future development," he said. "They can explain what they would like to see, or maybe they don't want changes in certain areas."
Residents will be able to post sticky notes on a large map to mark the areas that deserve specialized attention.
"We also want a branding of this process," Tate said. "We want to name it, and we want that to be done by the citizens."
The comprehensive planning process is meant to be a community-based project, he explained.
"It's very important that we hear back from the citizens to have an accurate community vision for the city," Tate said. "This cannot be a document that is just completed by the staff or consultants."
The plan will also incorporate Vision 2014 from Gainesville Parks and Recreation, Vision 2030 from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan by the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The city's staff is finalizing a community assessment document, which is an executive summary of the community that addresses the issues and opportunities here.
Tate and others have also conducted stakeholder interviews and formed a task force with individuals from various neighborhoods and organizations to guide the process.
The staff will host three workshops this year to garner public feedback on specific areas in Gainesville. A July 14 meeting will focus on the gateway corridors and roads that lead into the city.
A hearing on Aug. 11 will look at the "central core" of the city, including the downtown, midtown, Fair Street and Bradford Street areas.
A final focus on Sept. 8 will pinpoint commercial opportunities along Atlanta Highway, Browns Bridge Road and Lakeshore Mall.
"These are all open to anyone," Tate emphasized. "You don't have to be a resident in a certain neighborhood or a business owner on the west side of Gainesville to attend these and give input."