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Hall County begins work on land-use plan
Commissioners to discuss first steps at todays work session
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Hall County is about to prepare a comprehensive land-use plan, a report that will outline the community's development for the next 20 years.

At its 9 a.m. work session today, the Hall County Board of Commissioners will take one of the first steps in the process when it discusses whether to collaborate with the city of Gainesville or go it alone.

"The discussion on Monday is intended to brief the commission on the upcoming process and to also have a general discussion about the possibilities of working with the city of Gainesville on a joint comprehensive plan effort," said Hall County Planning Director Randy Knighton.

"We think that there could be some potential cost savings if we work jointly with the city of Gainesville and we think there would perhaps be some other benefits as well."

Assistant County Administrator Phil Sutton said working together would also be helpful because of the many islands in the city.

"We have so many overlapping areas," Sutton said. "If you're going down Browns Bridge Road, half the property is county, half the property is city. The city goes all the way out past McEver. And you have county property that's next to Alta Vista Cemetery."

Knighton said the city and county worked together on the last comprehensive land-use plan in 2004. The plan is a state-mandated report that counties are required to submit about once every 10 years or as requested by the state.

Using growth projections and census data, the county will try anticipate what type of development will occur in different areas.

"Comprehensive plans are very important documents. They provide a guide for future development in the community and that not only entails land use, but community facilities and infrastructure and transportation," Knighton said. "It is a very important tool that the county will use as we factor in future growth and development."

The deadline for the county to submit the plan is June 30, 2012.

"It's very, very involved," Sutton said. "It's a massive document."

The process also requires a lot of public input.

"In the last comprehensive planning process we had about 12 public meetings, typically one per month. We would have a regular attendance of about 50 people per meeting over the course of the year, year and a half process," Knighton said. "We certainly want to make sure we have a broad and diverse citizen input to make sure we're hearing from all the citizens of the community as we go forward in this planning process."

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