County Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan

Tuesday the Lowndes County Commission finally held the missing public hearing about the Comprehensive Plan, and it was pretty painless: only one citizen spoke, and she spoke for. If they’d held it two months ago like all the local cities did, they wouldn’t now be risking not getting state or federal grants because they may not be certified. They still didn’t distribute the draft STWP and ROA before the hearing as the state requires them to do, so they could still be in trouble with the state. However, at least they reset their timeline and held the hearing. That’s a step towards transparency as defined by the state guidelines the county already agreed in writing to follow.

Commissioners had as much to say as they did at the Work Session Monday morning: nothing.

The one citizen, Gretchen Quarterman, said:

I’m a super fan of planning, and I’m a fan of the Comprehensive Plan. I think that if we don’t know where we are going, and we don’t have a plan on how we’re gonna get there, we’re not gonna get there. And the five year plan that tells us exactly what we’re going to in the next five years to get to our 2030 plan is a groovy idea. So that part I’m in favor of. I’ve been over this document pretty thoroughly with Jason, and I still have some questions outstanding which I’m sure that they’ll get resolved. He’s been super helpful.

The one thing I talked to Mr. Raines about and I would encourage the other Commissioners to consider is that in section 4.5.1, at least that’s what I have it on my document. Investigate

the establishment of a county-wide municipal auditorium and coordinate with Five Points Steering Committee. That used to be a project that Lowndes County was included on, And now we’ve dropped off of that project, and it just is a City of Valdosta project. I know that the county maybe isn’t too interested in that project, but that’s a big project, and it will impact our county in a big way, and I think it would be a mistake for the county to abdicate its voice on that.

I know that we still have the steering committee people, but I think that we should take an active role in that project.

David Rodock wrote for the VDT Wednesday:

Commissioners also approved a request to allow a public hearing and submit updated sections of the Comprehensive Plan to the Department of Community Affairs and Southern Georgia Regional Commission. Gretchen Quarterman spoke during the public-hearing portion of the agenda to speak in favor of the request, but asked commissioners to reconsider their involvement in the upcoming Five Points Municipal Auditorium project.
“That used to be a project that Lowndes County was included on and now we’ve dropped that project and it’s just a City of Valdosta project,” said Quarterman. “I know that the county may not be too interested in that project, but that’s a big project and it will impact our county in a big way and I think it would be a mistake for the county to (eliminate) its voice from that project.”
She also said:
I have a few outstanding questions, but I’m waiting for Jason to answer them.
Nobody else wanted to speak. Commissioner Crawford Powell made a motion to approve, Commissioner Joyce Evans seconded, and they voted unanimously in favor.

Here’s the video:

County Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 13 December 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.