The missing Lowndes County public hearing for Comprehensive Plan Updates

Four local governments followed the rules, one appears to have left citizens out of the process.

According to their letters of transmission to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Valdosta, Hahira, Remerton, and Lake Park all held public hearings on the Short Term Work Programs and Report of Accomplishment documents.

Here is video of the Valdosta Public Hearing.

The Lowndes County resolution does not say that a public hearing was held. That’s because no public hearing was held, as you can see in the video below.

A public hearing was listed in the agenda of the 11 October 2011 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

7. Public Hearing
a. REZ-2011-13, Fred’s Dept. Store, 4401 Bemiss Rd., 145c-90a, 2.0 ac., water/sewer, C-H(c) & C- G(c) to C-G
b. Greater Lowndes 2030 Comprehensive Plan Updates – Lowndes County Report of Accomplishments (ROA) and Short Term Work Program (STWP)

However, citizens were not invited to speak for or against the document. In fact, the document was not provided to the citizens for comment and an open records request for the document has not been satisfied by the county. Here is video of items 7a and 7b.

The County’s Resolution to Transmit says in part:

WHEREAS, these documents were prepared according to the guidance of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs,…

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners hereby authorizes this draft Short-Term Work Program Update to be submitted….

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs document A Guide to Preparing Annual Capital Improvements Element (CIE) Updates for Local Governments seems explicit that the public must have access to the document and have an opportunity to comment upon it:
Submittal Procedural Requirements
Local Public Hearing

The local government must hold at least one public hearing. The purpose of the public hearing is to inform the public of the intent to update the comprehensive plan and to receive suggestions and comments on the proposed CIE/STWP update. Copies of the draft CIE/STWP update must be available to the public sufficiently in advance of this hearing to allow time for citizens to review the update and formulate their comments prior to the hearing. Local governments should follow the public hearing notification procedures they normally use in announcing and conducting public hearings.

Lowndes County citizens were not permitted to see the document and were not permitted to make comment.

It seems to me that some local governments are following the rules and another is not.

It’s enough to make you wonder what’s in the document.

-gretchen

1 thought on “The missing Lowndes County public hearing for Comprehensive Plan Updates

  1. Barbara Stratton

    I appreciate that you were able to acquire & publish the list of Comprehensive Plan Updates for all entities in spite of the lack of open records response. I am assuming the Greater Lowndes 2030 Comprehensive Plan Short Term Work Program (STWP) FY 2012-2016 is the missing document. If not, thanks for publishing it anyway. It has some interesting entries. Good work!

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