Words from the county chairman
Newton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Keith Ellis answered four questions about the 2050 Plan as part of an ongoing series of general questions with county and city leaders. These were so pertinent to Thursday’s 2050 Plan public hearing they are included here:
1. Why is the county participating in the 2050 Plan?
For far too long uncontrolled development in Newton County put a huge burden on our quality of life and our budget and lead to an unbalanced tax digest. As an old educator, I understand the importance of planning. Surely planning is an area that all of us can agree on. Around 2005 - ing together to build that plan. Today that plan is referred to as the 2050 Plan. This 2050 Plan is based on the premise which estimates in the year 2050 we could have a population of over 350,000. Therefore, all of us can believe for our children’s sake we must continue forward with a plan.
2. What is the timeline for adoption?
Speaking for myself only, an adoption date does not exist. Input from the public, patience and a - sues will determine that date. It is impossible to believe that the adoption will be any time this year.
3. Based on public comment, what are some items that I would support changing in the next addition?
I received a copy of the current version in early June. Some concerns quickly arose; the 10- and 20-acre minimums, the architectural guidelines and building standard restrictions and the ability to have adequate staff to enforce those restrictions, balancing individual property rights, and an absence of a provision for child lots. These are all areas that need further study before our board ever has these ordinances on our agenda.
4. What is the citizens’ role in helping to shape a reasonable plan that everyone will be willing to take ownership of, and what about a referendum?
Certainly my constituents’ ideas are welcome. Our legal team has said that per Georgia’s zoning zoning ordinance such as the 2050 Plan. We will continue to seek public input throughout this long process. Common ground and solutions cannot be reached without your help. The same frustrations that both you and I feel must become suggestions and ideas to improve these ordinances. We have to remind ourselves to continue to be even-handed and even-keeled. I intend to put together a citizens’ panel to help me better understand how a public hearing for citizens to provide feedback. Emails, phone calls and personal visits are always welcome. Together, we will work through this long and sometimes tedious process to develop a plan that you will want to take ownership of. This plan is not a sprint, it is a marathon.