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Plan Review of the Joint Henry County/Cities Comprehensive Transportation Plan 2009/12/09

Posted by vanhvilai in Transportation Planning.
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The Joint Henry County/Cities Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) is an award-winning long range plan that was undertaken through a collaborative effort between the County and its Cities of Hampton, McDonough, Stockbridge, and Locust Grove.  The 2030 Comprehensive Plan was drafted in parallel with the CTP. The CTP was to be the County’s first plan of this type. Therefore, one of the challenges was to ensure that the community and stakeholders understood the connection between the two plans. Since, the CTP is an element of the Comprehensive Plan, cooperation between the two project teams was essential. The goals of the CTP were to develop a set of policies and projects to improve the County’s transportation system and to prioritize transportation projects. Public input played an important role in this process. As part of the County’s and its Cities’ Community Participation Plan (CPP) for the Comprehensive Plan, the CTP project team collaborated with the Comprehensive Plan team and held multiple community and visioning meetings throughout the County.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs requires that all local comprehensive plans include a public participation element. According to the Standards and Procedures for Local Comprehensive Planning document, the purposes of the requirements are to involve all members in the community, engage the community about the planning process, and develop a plan that will be used to guide decision makers.

The most noteworthy aspect of the two plans was the public participation element. The approach was to achieve an inclusionary and transparent process. The CPP was developed to meet these goals. The purpose of the plan was to ensure that members of the community and stakeholders were educated about the planning process, had sufficient opportunities to provide inputs and feedback, and were involved in the process of planning the future of their environment in which they live. There was even an outreach effort to the community for input about the CPP.

The multiple meetings throughout the planning process gave the community ample opportunities to participate. There were two main sets of meetings. The visioning workshops were held at the beginning of the year in 2006 before the CPP was approved because the CTP team needed input from the community at the initiation of the process for data collection purposes. The meetings were held on Monday and Tuesday evenings at a different city each time to ensure that they were accessible to the majority of the community. The second series of meetings were the open houses. These were held September through October. The final meeting was about the draft plan before it was submitted to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commission for approval. All of the meetings allowed the participants to voice their concerns and share their views. Information collected from the meetings helped shape the plans.

Transparency of information and of the progression of the process was an important aspect of the CPP. The media and public were educated about the plans. Briefings and other meetings were held with media groups to prevent and alleviate miscommunication and misinformation, and different forms of media outlets were used to inform the community. Informational materials were distributed at meetings and various locations. In addition, the County’s website provided updates about the process and links to other sources of information, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Development Authority, and the Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

In complying with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ standards, Henry County and its Cities developed an outstanding community participation plan that engaged the community and stakeholders. Community and stakeholder inputs indentified needs and concerns, which helped shape the Comprehensive Plan and the Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

References

Community Participation Program for the Joint Henry County/Cities Comprehensive Plan. (2006,February 24). Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Retrieved December 5, 2009, from www.dca.state.ga.us/development

Standards and Procedures for Local Comprehensive Planning. (2005, May 1). Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from www.dca.state.ga.us/development

Transportation Planning. (n.d.). Henry County, Georgia. Retrieved December 5, 2009, from www.co.henry.ga.us/TransportationPlanning/CTP.shtml

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