By REBECCA HAZEN
Trenton and Dade County officials and citizens met Tuesday, Feb. 15, for the second steering committee meeting regarding the Trenton-Dade Joint Comprehensive Plan.
Every local government is required to create a comprehensive plan every 10 years, with a five-year update. Trenton and Dade are currently working on the five-year update.
Alex Smith, Community Planner with Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, lead the meeting.
“We’re updating the information to best reflect what your needs are as residents and also any representative body,” Smith said. “This status allows you to apply for certain grants and loans.”
Smith noted that they will have to try to complete the updated plan by mid-April, to get improved by the Department of Community Affairs by June 30.
There are required elements of a comprehensive plan. These are: Needs and Opportunities, Community Work Program, Report of Accomplishments, Land Use (for those having zoning equivalent in place), Transportation (if community is in an metropolitan planning organization, or MPO), and Broadband. Optional elements are Economic Development and Natural Resources.
Each element of the plan is developed with public participation. Each meeting is open to the public.
During the meeting the committee members worked on developing a survey regarding the future growth of Dade County.
“During our last meeting, we did an exercise where we listed [the community’s] strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. You helped to create this survey,” Smith said.
The survey asks people to identify their connection to Dade County, age group, and employment status. The survey will be available for citizens to take sometime next month.
Survey takers will be able to select their personal top five strengths of the community, out of a list of options. Some of these options include educational system, skilled workforce, low property taxes and tourism. A second question will ask for the top five perceived threats to the community.
Survey takers will also be asked about what type of growth they are interested in seeing in the community, and what projects would they support to make Dade County and Trenton a better place to live.
The steering committee members discussed the best ways to get the surveys out to the public. This included having hard copies available at the Senior Center and the Dade County Public Library and handing out copies to people at the food bank distribution locations. The survey will also be available online.
Another meeting will be held during which environmental planning criteria will be discussed. The date of the next meeting was not discussed. Once the draft of the plan is complete, a required public hearing will be held.