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Commissioners to go over comp plan
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Effingham County commissioners are scheduling a workshop to go over a laundry list of topics, including information on the nearly completed comprehensive plan.

Commissioners will hold their only meeting of the month today at 8:30 a.m.

At their meeting last month, Commissioner Hubert Sapp expressed his concerns over the plan, especially the push to finish it and have it sent to the state Department of Community Affairs for review and recommendations.

“I don’t really enjoy spending a quarter of a million dollars on a comp plan and then turn around and we’ve got until 2012 to do one,” he said. “It’s thrown up on the shelf and that’s where it stays, where it collects dust, for 10 years.”

Counties and cities throughout the state are required to have comprehensive plans and they are scheduled to be updated every 10 years. County planner George Shaw said the plan being worked on now, in conjunction with the three municipalities, is a 10-year plan with a 20-year vision.

Shaw has said the current comp plan is out of date, and county Commission Chairperson Verna Phillips has said a new plan needs to be in place to prepare for another expected wave of growth.

“The problem in the past is we have never updated the comp plan as we should,” Assistant County Administrator David Crawley said. “The comp plan needs to be living document that is revised over time. In the past we have put it on the shelf, and it takes a quarter million dollars to bring it back up to date.”

Crawley also said county staff wants to review the comp plan periodically and keep it up to date unless the DCA makes changes to the process.

The county submitted a partial plan update, which included a short-term work program. The SWTP has a list of items the county wants to accomplish in the next five years.

Having a comp plan completed and updated is also part of the process to be a qualified local government, which enables local governments to receive state grants.

Lott and Barber is working with the county on its portion of the comp plans, and the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center is assisting the cities on their parts. Once finished, it is submitted to the CGRDC and the DCA for review and comments.

The county also is working on updating its capital improvement element, which is a financial report on how it spends its impact fees.

“We have to identify how we spend impact fees on the projects we identified in the capital improvement projects,” Crawley said.