Taylor holds public hearing on Joint Comprehensive Plan

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Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor opened his monthly public meeting with a hearing on the Joint Comprehensive Plan 10-year update.

“This plan is updated every 10 years,” Taylor said. “The county and the seven municipalities — Cartersville, Adairsville, Euharlee, Emerson, Kingston, White and Taylorsville — work in cooperation to manage future growth.

“We know there is no exact science for predicting growth, but we know we are a growing area and we need to plan for it. It’s very important that we preserve our green spaces and rural areas in order to keep the character of Bartow County.”

Taylor said any growth should be quality growth, taking into account land use, transportation needs, water supply and sewer and stormwater infrastructure.

A new item on the plan involves broadband, a high-speed form of internet access that can be offered in four forms — DSL, fiber-optic, cable and satellite.

“Broadband is new to the plan,” Taylor said. “It allows rural areas to enjoy high speed internet access where before they had to deal with very slow access like dial-up. The people moving into the county will demand that kind of access. We have applied to the Appalachian Regional Commission for a grant to study Bartow County and determine where the pockets are that don’t have broadband, then we can share that information with broadband companies.”

“First, there are the required public meetings to talk about the process and what is to be done,” she said. “Some of the required elements of the meetings include naming community goals, identifying needs and opportunities, discussing transportation and land-use elements.”

Meadows said the county and cities create a steering/stakeholder committee to work with the planning staffs to prepare a draft of the plan elements no later than Sept. 29, 2017. Once the draft is complete, a second public hearing is required. The final draft, which must include certification that the Metro North Georgia Regional Water Plan was considered and certification that all rules for environmental planning criteria — water supply, watershed and wetlands protection, groundwater recharge protection, and river corridor and mountain protection — were met, is then sent to Regional Commission for review. A findings and recommendation report is sent by the commission to the local governments for an adoption resolution to be executed and the plan publicized by February 2018.

“Although the new plan won’t take effect until 2018,” Taylor said. “It’s very important to get the process started.”

Taylor approved a contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for right of way aquisition for the Glade Road widening project with GDOT providing 80 percent of the funding and authorized a contract for Lamar Penson to provide appraisal services.

The Commissioner also approved an amendment to an intergovernmental agreement with Adairsville, Euharlee, Emerson and Kingston to provide animal control services and the magistrate court judge requested an amendment to provide that all citations, even ones written in the city, will be tried in magistrate’s court. rather than the individual city courts.

An emergency communication agreement with Cobb County to supply a much more powerful system that will eliminate the dead zones found in some parts of Bartow County was approved. The services are provided by Cobb at no charge saving Bartow about $700,000 annually.

The Commissioner will hold a special called public meeting today at 10:30 a.m. in the Commissioner’s Conference Room, 135 W. Cherokee Ave., to establish the final millage rate for 2016-17.