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ASK THE EXPERTS

County seeks input on long-range plan

POSTED: June 5, 2013 4:00 a.m.

Officials are asking the public to weigh in on a future visioning plan for Dawson County.

Dawson County Planning and Development Director David McKee said an online survey is available at www.dawsoncounty.org that questions the community's desires for future growth.

Survey topics include development along the Ga. 400 corridor, Hwy. 53 and in outlying western communities, as well as the need for additional parks and greenspace, access roads and higher density housing.

The answers range from strongly agree down to strongly disagree. There is also a comment section for additional thoughts and ideas. The surveys are anonymous.

Earlier this year, McKee organized a group of representative stakeholders made up of residents and business owners in key leadership roles. The group is charged with going out into the community to gauge feedback on the county's future needs and promote the survey.

"This is a representative list of stakeholders that we feel makes up a good representation of the community," McKee said. "We've asked these group members to go back out, relay this information from the public back to staff and the project management team."

The county's comprehensive land use plan was adopted in 2008, at a time when the area was seeing an economic decline following an escalated rate of growth.

Last week, Commissioner Gary Pichon, a member of the stakeholders group, reflected on the community's mindset in relation to economic development five years ago.

"When that plan was first put together, the fear was by a lot of the people in the county that we were going to be overwhelmed by the kind of growth that swallowed up Gwinnett, and there's a lot of people that did not want that to happen for a lot of reasons," he said.

"Even if you are pro-growth, you want to make sure if you do the growth that you have the assets on the ground, roads, bridges, sewers, water, all that stuff has to be taken care of or you get just madhouse growth. So the question was what do we want the place to look like, what are the characters that we want to preserve, if there's any and how would we go about doing that."

McKee said today's objective remains the same as the goal established in 2006 when the county last looked at updating its future growth plan.

"The objective we're looking for here, so we can compare apples to apples from what we saw in 2006 as our concerns, and see now if we have those same concerns, [or if] there's new concerns. Maybe we don't need to do anything," McKee said. "We'll figure that out through this process."

McKee said the county hopes to receive between 500-600 responses to the survey, which will be accessible through June 14.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 100 surveys had been completed, he said.

For residents without access to the Internet, hard copies of the survey are available by calling the county at (706) 344-3501.

 

 

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