Those who believe that shopping opportunities in Columbia County are lacking or that development is out of control have a new way to share those concerns with county officials.
The county posted a survey last week on its Web site to seek public input on such areas as shopping and dining out.
"How do we know what people want unless we ask them?" said Richard Harmon, the director of the Development Services Division. "If you don't want any more development, tell us. If you want Victoria's Secret or Calvert's, tell us. Do you want more retail or more restaurants?"
Information from the survey will be used to help officials update ordinances concerning business development within Columbia County, Harmon said.
"We have flipped this thing totally upside down," he said. "We're changing a lot of the (regulations). ... We're meeting with a lot of business folks on a monthly basis now to get a lot of ideas from them, trying to find out what their needs are and how we can help them."
Already, Harmon has met with managers of big-box retail outlets. He also intends to meet with small business owners, developers and even area pastors.
Some regulations currently under consideration include reducing the required number of parking spaces and adding more landscaping to parking lots, Harmon said.
"There's a thin line we have to walk," he said. "We want development to come and we want to make the process simple, but you have to make darn sure you maintain the standards and the quality the county wants."
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