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Long range planning committee holds first meeting
I-Long range planning pic 1
Long range planning committee Co-chair Terri Tragesser, right, speaks to fellow committee member Hugh Stowers as well as county employees and Billy Thurmond, chairman of the board of commissioners, at the committees first meeting on June 23. - photo by Allie Dean Dawson County News

A committee newly appointed by the board of commissioners met Friday morning under the notion that some growth is good, but planned growth is better.

The long range planning committee, made up of nine Dawson County citizens, met to discuss how they see the committee meetings working and what topics will dominate the discussion moving forward.

Present at the inaugural meeting were co-chair Terri Tragesser and members Mandy Power, Tim Costley, Jane Graves, Hugh Stowers and Ronnie Adkins.

Not present were Chairman Gary Pichon and members Jo Brewer and Dick Scharf.

Also in attendance were County Attorney Lynn Frey, Commission Chair Billy Thurmond, District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines, Planning and Zoning Director Jason Streetman and Zoning Administrator Nikki McCall, as well as several citizens.

County Manager David Headley will be the liaison for the committee to address any information needed from the county department heads.

"The long range planning committee, as I see it, is responsible for the guiding and the development of the long range plan, the five and 10 year plan and where we are at and where we're going, that type of thing," Headley said. "That provides a rational framework for evaluating and addressing future growth."

The committee discussed what they need to get up and running, such as establishing a regular meeting time and place, approving bylaws, setting up agendas and making sure all members understand open meetings laws.

In addition they discussed what will be important to them going forward.

Stowers said that the county's water supply concerns him in terms of potential growth, while Graves suggested a Hwy. 53 planning overlay much like the existing one for Ga. 400, because she foresees future growth along the highway.

Gaines suggested each committee member tackle a specific issue that they are interested in so that they can divide and conquer the work and present their findings to the rest of the committee.

Resident Corey Guthrie sat in on the meeting as a citizen and said he would like to see the county work with the city more in light of the city's ability to annex property.

"It seems like you would want to also work synergistically with the city as well, because historically, you'll see the city limits have spread far and thin throughout the county so that if somebody is not really happy with the way the county looks like it's going to zone, they might work with the city instead to get that worked out so that might be something I'd like to see," Guthrie said.

Guthrie also suggested meeting with Forsyth County officials to help learn from their mistakes in terms of growth and housing.

The committee set a next meeting time of 9 a.m. June 21 in the administrative training room. Expected to be on the agenda is a discussion of bylaws and a presentation by Planning Director Jason Streetman of how the county is expected to grow by population and housing over the next few years.

"I consider it a privilege to be in a position to shape the's an exciting undertaking," Tragesser said.