Dawson County and the city of Dawsonville are in the process of updating their comprehensive plans, which are basically documents that present a roadmap for elected officials to use when planning for the future.
The two government entities have posted surveys on their websites, soliciting citizen input on what capital projects they want prioritized and how they want future growth and development to be handled.
The Dawsonville survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/dawsonvilleplan.
The surveys should be available through the end of March.
Responses are anonymous and you do not have to be a resident of the city to take the city’s survey.
“Every comment will likely be put into the document,” said Adam Hazell, planning director for the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, the group that is aiding the county and city to update their plans. He spoke at the Dawson County Civic Association’s annual meeting on March 10.
He encourages participation in the surveys because it is a way to directly impact the path Dawson County takes.
“If your biggest concern is safety, the elected officials can chase law enforcement...if your biggest concern is the management of growth...now we know what to focus on,” Hazell said.
Based on the community’s existing mission statement, as well as from meetings and the 300 or so survey respondents so far, Hazell said that protecting the natural resources and trying to preserve rural character in the face of oncoming growth has been the overwhelming majority of responses.
“That means if we’re focusing on that, you’re inviting your commissioners to invoke policies and procedures that will do that,” he said. “Which means, don’t go investing in things that will invite growth that is going to change the character of our community.”
The more responses there are, the better the comprehensive plan will represent a consensus from the community. The plan in turn will help elected officials prioritize capital projects and get the most out of taxpayer money.
“Your local government...they have big capital expenses like fire stations, water and sewer lines, road improvements, and you want to make sure that they’re using it not at the whim of whatever they feel like doing in the day, you want them to do it as part of a thoughtful plan that’s going to be the best for our community long-term,” he said. “That’s what this document tries to do.”
The comprehensive plans are updated every five years, and are a requirement to maintain Certified Local Government Status in Georgia, which makes the county and city eligible for state grants and programs.
The county will hold its first public comprehensive plan meeting starting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 19 in the courthouse’s second floor assembly room.
The city has not scheduled a public hearing yet, but expects to hold one in May.
“The public is always welcome to attend our meetings, held at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of every month, as we move through the process,” said Casey Majewski, planning director for the city of Dawsonville.