Canopy roads, agriculture, materials? –Greg Odom about Comprehensive Plan Update @ SGRC 2016-02-22

So well attended there weren’t enough handouts, as remarked on by Greg Odom, who later also said the proposed Comprehensive Plan Update didn’t have any plans for canopy roads, or roads on existing rights of way like in Virginia: “For the past 25 years there has not been a healthy attitude about people who want to maintain dirt roads. There has been an attitude of let’s pave everything, and let’s pave it in an outrageous way….”

Last night’s meeting was billed on the City of Valdosta’s calendar as the first of three workshops about this Update, organized by the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC). Lowndes County had nothing on their website about this anywhere I can find. Below are links to each LAKE video from last night’s Workshop, followed by a video playlist, and then some notes about online documents and upcoming meetings. See also the LAKE videos of the previous discussion in January before a Planning Commission Work Session.

  • Welcome, Overview of Comp Plan –Julia Shewchuk Welcome, Overview of Comp Plan --Julia Shewchuk

    Video. Julia Shewchuk, SGRC Planning Director, explained how the process works, including that the local elected bodies have to agree on the update by 31 October 2016, or no federal or state funds will be delivered to any of them (Lowndes County, Valdosta, Remerton, Hahira, Dasher or Lake Park). Representatives of many of those elected bodies were there, including the county Chairman and one county Commissioner. She admonished them all to start any negotiations among them ASAP, so they could have the Update finalized by September so they could hold final public hearings and approval.

  • Community Vision –Julia Shewchuk; lack of materials –Greg Odom Community Vision --Julia Shewchuk; lack of materials --Greg Odom

    Video. One of the county or city planners remarked that there were better goals developed from previous meetings. SGRC will work those into an update available before the next meeting. Greg Odom complained that there weren’t enough handouts at this meeting, so it was very hard to follow along on page whatever. See also below about online documents. And see the other LAKE video of Greg’s much more substantive points about roads and agriculture.

  • Community Goals which support Vision Community Goals which support Vision

    Video.

  • Issues and Opportunities – Housing Issues and Opportunities - Housing

    Video.

  • Issues & Opp., Natural & Cult. Res., canopy roads, ag. –Greg Odom Issues & Opp., Natural & Cult. Res., canopy roads, ag. --Greg Odom

    Video. Greg Odom noted residents and property owners on dirt roads often desire to keep the ambience and natural beauty of their dirt roads.

    I think Florida is having great success with its canopy roads program. And we can have a canopy roads program here, and it can be advertised just like Florida advertises its….

    For the past 25 years there has not been a healthy attitude about people who want to maintain dirt roads. There has been an attitude of let’s pave everything, and let’s pave it in an outrageous way, with these wide swathes of 80-foot right of way.

    And that brings me to my second request, that the county consider paving roads in a different way. The way Virginia paves its roads, its rural roads, the way North Carolina paves its rural roads, They pave what’s there, with a ditch on the side, without these large grassy swales that result in the destruction of 80 feet of trees on either side of the right of way, which gives something else that has to be maintained and mowed.

    The rejoinder that we have historically heard is,

    “Oh well, we have to pave them that way to get the federal backing money, the state backing money, and we can’t afford, we don’t want to lose all that backing money.”

    Well if you did it the easier, simpler, more natural way, you wouldn’t need the extra money.

    He said these were issues of natural and cultural resources. Julia Shewchuk said the canopy road maybe would come under natural resources, perhaps combined with historic features, and road paving somewhere else. Gretchen suggested under transportation.

    John Gregory Odom of Hahira, New Orleans, and New York City is a prominent attorney who does not work for the company store, and thus is free to speak up. It turns out his point about handouts actually already has been addressed, although apparently few people knew it; see below. But his substantive points about roads have not been handled.

Here’s a video playlist:


Canopy roads, agriculture, materials? –Greg Odom about Comprehensive Plan Update
Workshop, 2016 Lowndes County Comprehensive Plan Update (SGRC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
327 West Savannah Ave., Valdosta, GA 31601, 22 February 2016.

Online

That City of Valdosta calendar listing said:

This is the first of three workshops for the Joint 2016 Lowndes County and Cities of Dasher, Hahira, Lake Park, Remerton, and Valdosta Comprehensive Plan Update.

During this first workshop you will be asked to review the community Vision, Goals, Issues, and Opportunities, to determine if they are still relevant, and to make any revisions, deletions, or additions. Citizens are invited to participate to ensure that this plan update for as much local input as possible.

Ariel Godwin, AICP, Senior Planner, 229-333-5277 ext. 125 or agodwin@sgrc.us.

I just called Ariel Godwin. He says the current draft of the Update is online. Go to www.sgrc.us/, click on the square labeled Community & Economic Development, scroll down to Comprehensive Planning and on down to Lowndes County, and you’ll find:

  • The latest draft of the Comprehensive Plan Workbook can be downloaded here.

Click on that link. The current draft up there is of 27 January 2016, which is newer than the paper copy dated 19 January 2016 that he handed me at the previous meeting. Ariel Godwin says he will post a still newer update shortly, incorporating information from last night’s meeting.

He’ll also add, on the Community & Economic Development web page, the date of the next Workshop, which is Monday 7 March 2016 at 5PM next door, at the SGRC main Valdosta office, 327 W. Savannah Ave. Valdosta, GA 31601. The third SGRC Workshop has not been scheduled yet. Julia Shewchuk said at the end of last night’s meeting that they were scheduling the next one at each meeting.

-jsq

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