Columbia County residents were able to see what the county's Growth Management Plan Update 2025 is all about at an Evans-Martinez community workshop Tuesday.
The issue at hand was the idea of incorporating a nodal development concept, which includes large town centers, smaller neighborhood centers and a major commerce center at the Interstate 20 corridor.
"Nodes help you preserve land because you have a concentrated area of development. It addresses transportation and quality issues," said Fredalyn M. Frasier, a consultant for EDAW, who is helping the county with the Growth Management Plan.
"What we want to do is provide a strong enough framework so decision makers will have something strong to rely on." Frasier said the concept would divide areas in the county by nodes.
A regional node would have dense residential development, being anywhere from 100 to 200 acres, with retail offerings such as medical offices, grocery centers and a theater. A community node also would have dense residential development and be about 30 to 50 acres. The community node would cater to multifamily housing such as apartment complexes and would have grocery stores. A neighborhood node would have medium-scale retail offerings, such as grocery stores, and be 16 to 20 acres. It also would have single-family and some multifamily housing offerings. A rural node would include only a 2- to 4-acre stretch at most and would be similar to Pollards Corner in Appling or Pumpkin Center.
Bob Cipperly, of Evans, said that before such development can occur, the county must first address issues of transportation.
"We need to put the roads in place before we implement the plan," he said.
"If we don't address this, then the quality of life is going to be terrible."
What's next: The county's finalized Growth Management Plan 2025 is set to be presented to the public in an open house in September. The plan must then be adopted and approved by February.
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