Planning Opportunity: Lowndes County Thoroughfare Plan

John S. Quarterman
3338 Country Club Rd #L336
Valdosta, GA 31605
25 January 2010

Ken Sherrill
Greater Lowndes Planning Commission

Dear Chairman Sherrill,

Congratulations on the new proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and on the process by which they were produced. Any public plan can be improved by external input and public hearings, as changes to the ULDC and to the Comprehensive Plan continue to demonstrate. Planning for the entire county can reduce mismatches of effort and promote development close in to existing services while perserving neighborhoods, agriculture, and wildlife.

I’d like to bring to your Thoroughfare Map, Lowndes County, Georgia attention another opportunity for improvement. Lowndes County has a Thoroughfare Plan whose author says it "works as a guide for development and potential use changes in property." This is the same purpose as the Comprehensive Plan, so it should be of interest to the Planning Commission.

The county lets contracts for road work based on the Thoroughfare Plan, and as the county says, once a road is paved or widened, it can support denser use. Some of this road work is in areas which the Comprehensive Plan shows as for agricultural and forestry, not development, so there appears to be a conflict here between the two plans, and thus an opportunity for the Planning Commission to resolve any such conflicts.

The recent update to the Thoroughfare Plan reclassifies numerous county roads to support more traffic and thus more development. While that plan includes tables of criteria for road classifications, it says up front that roads may not meet the criteria, and in many cases they do not, so it is not clear for what purpose roads are being reclassified. This is another opportunity for improvement by the Planning Commission.

It is not clear whether the County’s Thoroughfare Plan meshes with Valdosta’s Transportation Plan, or with those of other municipalities in the county. The Planning Commission is well-placed to determine that, and to resolve any mismatches.

In general, while there is little if any process in place for input to the County’s Thoroughfare Plan, the Planning Commission has well-tested processes for input that can be applied, to everyone’s benefit.

Thank you for letting me bring this planning opportunity to your attention.


John S. Quarterman
Concerned Citizen
jsq -at-