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2050 Plan heads into next phase

COVINGTON -- The city of Covington and Newton County have agreed to move forward with the next phase of implementing the 2050 Plan.

The city, county and Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority will each contribute $50,000 to create ordinances and intergovernmental agreements necessary to implement the plan. The process will take 18 to 24 months and will be facilitated by The Center for Community Preservation and Planning.

The next phase includes developing baseline ordinances for the three development zones -- conservation, rural and compact community -- in the plan; developing ordinances that apply to two or more development zones, such as transferable development rights and overlays; and establishing intergovernmental agreements related to sewer service territory and annexation, according to a project description supplied by The Center.

The total cost is expected to run between $150,000 and $250,000. The cities of Mansfield, Newborn, Oxford and Porterdale are also expected to contribute funds.

There are currently 60 zoning descriptions in the ordinances of Newton's eight governments. "Creating baseline ordinances will simplify zoning, increasing efficiency and decreasing cost," according to The Center's project description.

Commissioner Nancy Schulz said moving forward with this phase is timely, given that builders and developers are starting to show interest again on the west side of the county and with Baxter International coming to east Newton.

"It's very important to get ordinances in place to give clarity to developers as they begin to move back into our community," she said.

Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he believes Covington and Newton are "getting ready to have a little growth boom."

"If we don't have this in place, we don't have a way to control building," he said.

The 2050 Plan is based on projections that the county's population could reach 400,000 by 2050. The key principles of the buildout plan are protecting clean water; creating communities; creating corridors; and coordinating infrastructure.

The plan includes a map that portrays the placement of town centers in the Covington, Almon, Salem, Oak Hill and Hub Junction communities. The Almon Overlay has already been approved and the Salem Overlay is expected to be approved by year's end. The plan also includes a proposed Bear Creek Reservoir and an airport business park; a conservation zone in the eastern part of the county that contains large agricultural parcels and a watershed and would be occupied by 5 percent of the population; compact community zones throughout the western and central part of the county occupied by 80 percent of the population; and rural zones in Oxford and along the Yellow River with 15 percent of the population.

Members of the Leadership Collaborative worked together to create the plan. Members include representatives from the county and its five municipalities, the Chamber of Commerce, the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority and the Newton County Board of Education. The plan has been unanimously supported by all those governments and organizations.

Comments

henrystamm 2 years ago

Here we go again spending my hard earned money to accommodate their contractor and working to terminate our lifestyle. Put this lies to a vote on National election days and you will see how wrong our corrupt politicians are! Shame on them I do not want my county to look like Fulton, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton County.

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Billy 2 years ago

Some are living in the past, in the good ole days, where high revenues stimulated local government spending like this. Those days are over, and outside of a miracle from on high, will never return. Came from Henry county 8 years ago; LOL, they couldn't spend enough tax money. The chairman just got voted out in the primary for supporting SPLOST, (i.e, the "grey poupon beltway"), but lazy voters don't pay attention to current events or politics, and that's why you get all these big spenders in municipalities and county gov'ts. The days are fast approaching when regardless of whether you elect a socialist or a free market candidate, there will not be enough money to fund the basics, (education, police, road repair), much less extravagant nonsense past that.

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dennistay53 2 years ago

I'm more worried about the 2013 plan of our leaders.

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juch 2 years ago

Actually the county and cities are doing what they are supposed to do. Making sure we have proper growth controls in place is important. The good news is that they're expecting growth and it looks like all these groups are working together. That's a good sign. Do you want to turn into Rockdale, Dekalb, or Clatyon County? Crappy development is not going to help our home values. Is there a developer on any of these boards making decisions? Those and land flippers with insider information are the ones we need to worry about.

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dennistay53 2 years ago

No plan is worth the paper it is written on if it isn't followed. If you have a zoning board and commissioners who continue to give variances to special interest then you are wasting your time. If you are going to fully implement the 2050 plan then you need to do away with the zoning board as they will only be a road block in what you are trying to do. In other words you need a simplified, smaller county government whose job would be to see that the plan is followed with no power to change or deviate from the road map of the plan. I believe this to be a very good plan if implemented fully but i believe you need to remove some of the potential road blocks to it's implementation now. There should be absolutely NO rezoning once the plan is in effect. You will have to have a county legal system ready to fight in court against large developers who will for sure want variances and have the money to hire high priced attorney to get their way. You will have to have cities who will be satisfied with not annexing rural property just to increase their tax base.

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PaperChase 2 years ago

If you sniff down the NSP money you will learn that it is time to put Kevin Wade in District 3 BOC chair. Follow the paper and the money of Cook Road, NSP, Mechanics Liens, where did the money go? Who on the BOC was over this? Yep you know why Wade needs to be voted in.

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