The Jefferson County Planning Department and the Jefferson County Commission are embarking on a project to update the county's Comprehensive Plan, as required by law every 10 years. The county officials, in our opinion, are going about the process in a methodical and open fashion which will allow for input from everyone in the county.
The Commission has established a steering committee made up of 15 individuals who have committed themselves to meeting on the project continuously over the next two years to prepare a plan for final adoption in the fall of 2014. The seeking of input from county and municipal residents at large as well as from official statements from municipalities and other organizations will allow the committee to receive input from all sides of every potential portion of the plan.
When the current plan was drafted in 2004, it was a first-time effort for which the county hired an outside consultant. Kudos to the county for using their staff in the planning department as well as this citizen-based committee to draft the plan for 2014. Entitled Envision Jefferson 2035, the plan will expand on areas covered in the 2004 plan as well as add additional segments which have arisen as needs since then.
According to County Planning Director Jennifer Brockman, there are many areas of the original plan that were not expanded upon or put into practice which will need to be addressed in the upcoming plan. Among those are parkland needs, clean drinking water studies and cluster development, to name only a few. Each of the areas of planning for a vision of the entire county need to be looked at by any and all who may be stakeholders in the county plan including developers, farmers, environmentalists and more. An organized, cooperative effort is the way to develop what will be good for the county as a whole.
We at the Chronicle encourage every citizen of the county, including those within municipal boundaries, to get involved. Attend the public input meetings scheduled and make your voice heard with regard to what you see as important for the county in the future. By working together to develop a plan now, there could be an avoidance of controversial issues in the years ahead.
Contact the Planning and Zoning offices to find out the dates and locations when public input is sought. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 304-728-3228. Every voice is important when determining everyone's future. Make sure your voice is heard!