Effingham County residents will get a chance to have their say in the direction of the county tonight (Thursday).
The county, along with Guyton, Rincon and Springfield, is holding a joint public meeting on the comprehensive plan to discuss future development maps and character area vision statements. The meeting will be at Effingham County High School from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
“We’re trying to get as much (public input) as possible,” county planner George Shaw said. This ideally is the vision of the people of Effingham County and not the staff.”
The county is working on its comprehensive plan, with the hopes of finishing it this year. The partial plan update has been approved by the state Department of Community Affairs. There have been three public county meetings — the initial one was held last August — as the pieces of the comp plan have been put together.
The character area map is designed to show what, such as commercial, residential, agricultural, should go in what areas of the county.
“Future development maps evolve from the character area maps,” Shaw said. “It’s going to help guide where development goes. We know the growth is coming. We have to be ready for it.”
Character area maps also can identify historic areas and define what should and shouldn’t go near them.
“There are a couple of historic farms and there are historic communities, whistle stop communities, Egypt, Tusculum, Meldrim, Pineora, not municipal areas but historic in their own right,” Shaw said.
He said there are some misconceptions about what it means to have a comprehensive plan.
“Some believe the comp plan is a way for the county and in a larger way the state to take control of their land,” Shaw said. “In no way is that the goal or the intent.”
Shaw said the county doesn’t want to be overrun with unregulated growth, and the public’s take on what ought to go where is both mandated and vital.
“We just want to incorporate everyone’s vision into Effingham’s future,” he said. “We’d like to hear all their ideas, grandiose or small.”