Thursday's Columbia County Planning Commission meeting focused on good news in the county from 2009.
"We've tried to think positively, to move in a positive direction and to give Columbia County an opportunity to progress and develop for the future," Chairwoman Jean Garniewicz said.
Much of the meeting was devoted to an update given by the planning and zoning board, planning staff and Development Services Director Richard Harmon, who discussed the restructuring of his division.
Harmon said the department provides easier and quicker services for residents and for those in the business and development communities.
When the economy worsened, Harmon said, they were forced to consider a new approach.
"We had to basically go knocking on some doors," he said. "We went from a passive to a proactive outlook on what we do."
He also noted that through November, 890 residential permits and 70 commercial permits have been issued. Through November 2008, the number of residential permits issued was at 594, while commercial permits were at 108. The number of business licenses have increased to 1,036 through November of this year, he said.
Harmon said the division will continue to revise ordinances that need updating and look at revitalizing the central Martinez area in and around West Town shopping center.
Planning commissioners also gave positive accounts of several businesses new to the county.
"We do have a positive story to tell," said Garniewicz, who thanked the planning staff and commissioners for their work. "We hope this will continue through the next year (and) years to come."
In other meeting business, planning commissioners approved final plats for section two of Lancaster in Canterbury Farms and two phases of Brookwood Village on Avery Avenue. The board also approved a preliminary plat for 86 lots on nearly 29 acres in the Indian Springs subdivision.
The planning commission also approved a minor revision to a planned unit development at Baker Place and Chamblin roads. The change will rearrange lots in three future sections within Canterbury Farms.
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