With no one from the public stepping up to comment on an updated comprehensive plan, Gainesville City Council quickly and unanimously approved the document at its meeting Tuesday.
The city also held a public hearing in December at the start of the comprehensive plan update that also drew zero comments. A minimum of two public hearings are needed to approve the document.
Community Development Director Rusty Ligon told council that the updated plan would now go to the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review and possible changes. He said the plan would come back to council for final adoption in June.
Georgia requires local governments to update their comprehensive plan every five years.
City officials reviewed and updated a 2030 Comprehensive Plan in 2012 that was worked on for 18 months and included a year’s worth of public involvement and a series of public meetings, according to Ligon. He said community feedback on the 2017 update focused on issues that keep surfacing.
“We didn’t hear anything new,” Ligon said at the meeting. “”It was a confirmation of things we’re already doing.”
By far, the top issue for stakeholders is improving the variety and quality of housing in the city, Ligon said.
City officials were told at a council work session last week that some of the housing issues brought up during the revision process dealt with absentee landlords and aging properties.
Ligon said city staff will prepare an executive summary of the 127-page comprehensive plan that can be distributed to anyone interested in doing business in the city.
Aside from housing, the plan examines economic development and redevelopment, character areas and land use, transportation, water resources and community work program.
Ligon said the plan is always being used.
“We’re constantly planning,” he said. “We don’t put it on the shelf.”