Carl Vinson Institute to Review Draft Land Use Plan for Stephens Co.

August 29, 2013

Stephens County will use the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia to review a draft of a proposed land use plan document.

County commissioners unanimously approved that move Tuesday.

The Land Use Regulation Committee recommended to the commission that its current draft proposed land use plan be sent for review by Carl Vinson staff.

Committee Spokesperson Cynthia Brown said they feel that the Institute can help the county make sure whatever is proposed falls in line with what laws across the state and nation allow.

“The one thing we wanted to be certain that we were doing was that we were in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations in relation to our land use plan,” said Brown.  “Our local attorney is looking at it from the standpoint of our local ordinances and codes, but we wanted to be certain that we were up to standard on the state and federal regulations before we moved forward with the land use plan.”

This decision comes after some attention was drawn to the Carl Vinson Institute’s willingness to help the county earlier this year.

In June, Stephens County Administrator Phyllis Ayers said the institute notified her it would not enter into a contract with StephensCounty to provide professional assistance on developing a land use plan.  However, just days later, an official with the Carl Vinson Institute called that a misunderstanding and said the institute would be willing to help in any way it could once it knew specifically what the county wanted.

Brown said she is confident that has been cleared up and both sides are on the same page moving forward.

“I was at a meeting last week and spoke with the lady who is in charge of the Carl Vinson Institute,” said Brown.  “I do not know what happened behind the scenes.  I do not know why the misunderstanding took place, but everything is on go and they are very much aware of our deadlines and how important this is to this community and its future.”

While the Carl Vinson Institute reviews the draft document produced to this point by the Land Use Regulation Committee, the committee continues to meet.

Brown said that at a meeting on Monday, the committee looked at a mapping program presented by Stephens County Tax Assessor Christen Collier.

“What it did was to show us the parcels of land in StephensCounty and how they are designated at the present time,” said Brown.  “As we move into this land use plan, those designated divisions within the community as far as those parcels are concerned, they will be entered exactly as they are now.”

She said it would only be affected if the parcel was sold.

According to Brown, the committee remains on schedule for producing a proposed land use plan for the county commission to consider in November.

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