The city councils of Grovetown and Harlem recently voted to send portions of a draft 10-year Growth Management Plan update to state officials for review.
Grovetown officials approved draft updates to their community assessment and community participation plan designed by the CSRA Regional Development Center on Aug. 14, and Harlem followed suit with its updated plans Monday.
The updates, which are now in the hands of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, include population demographics, detail existing community resources and infrastructure, and contain a plan of action to involve the public in crafting the third portion of the Growth Management Plan for the respective cities, called the community agenda, said Christian Lentz, a planning director of the development center.
Once approved by state and respective city leaders, the individual community agendas will help guide government planners on issues such as transportation, housing and community facilities, he said.
State law requires cities and counties to review and update their growth plans every 10 years, Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau said Aug. 19. State officials have as long as 60 days to review the community assessment and participation plan, make recommendations and return it to city leaders.
Lentz said he did not expect the DCA to take 60 days to review the Grovetown plans, and a series of public meetings are likely to be held beginning in September or October.
Public meetings in Harlem might begin as early as November, Harlem Mayor Scott Dean said.
Ultimately, the state's recommendations will be incorporated along with input gleaned during open meetings with residents for re-submission to state officials. Dean and Trudeau both said the completed updates could be approved by their city's councils in January or February.
Trudeau said his city is interested in seeking U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants to build low- to moderate-income housing to replace some aging trailers within city limits "to try to improve their (residents) quality of life."
To accommodate Grovetown's continued needs of expanded sewer capacity and water usage, he said, the updates could include options of tying the city's systems with Richmond County or Fort Gordon.
"We're trying to make it (quality of life) better for all concerned," he said. "Of course it's going to take a lot of money and a lot of time. It's a step forward."
During the city council meeting, Dick Manion, the city's newest representative, said the plan will affect not only the residents of Grovetown but also many residents outside the city.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to pull together, using this plan as a vehicle, and to solve some of those problems and make sure we've got enough infrastructure," he said.
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