The public will get the chance to voice concerns about future growth in Columbia County on Monday.
The first public hearing of the county's new Growth Management Plan Steering Committee is set to take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Evans Government Complex Auditorium.
"This meeting is a very important one because the 30-member committee, the majority of their time, will be devoted to hearing from the public,'' said Jeff Browning, the county's planning director.
The committee, which is made up of leaders in the community, including the county's school superintendent, Tommy Price, has already had an organizational meeting and is looking to hear from the public on what they would like the group to focus on.
The committee will be responsible for devising guidelines for growth in the county for the next five years by looking at population, housing, economic development, natural and cultural resources, transportation, community facilities, land use, intergovernmental coordination, and affordable housing.
"One of the issues we're going to raise is affordable housing,'' Browning said. "How do you provide affordable housing in a fairly expensive county?''
Browning said the group will have three more public hearings after the one on Monday.
"When we begin to articulate the needs and goals for the future, we'll have a public hearing to see if people agree,'' he said.
He added that a consultant should have something ready to present to the public by July.
Browning said another public hearing in late fall and one at about this time next year also will be held before the growth management plan is presented to county commissioners for their consideration.
The plan that could eventually be adopted would replace the county's most recent plan, adopted in 2000.
That plan can be inspected now in the offices of Columbia County Planning and Development Services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by visiting www.columbiacountyga.gov. For more information, call 868-3400.
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