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I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a fast-approaching spring! As we move deeper into 2021, I am writing to highlight another opportunity to learn about and engage with the ongoing review of Greene County’s comprehensive plan.
As I wrote earlier this year, Greene County is currently undertaking a review of its comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is a critically important document that represents the community’s vision for its future and guides all decisions and regulations regarding growth and development.
As a resident of Greene County, you should give this process your attention and share your feedback with the county on issues that matter to you – whether that’s transportation, parks and recreation, affordable housing, you name it. Your input will play a key role in shaping any changes that are made to the current plan.
This Wednesday, March 17, the county is holding a virtual public work session from 6 – 7:30 p.m. to discuss several of the comprehensive plan’s existing chapters, as well as feedback from county agencies and proposed changes to these chapters. The three chapters being discussed on Wednesday are “Future Land Use,” “Natural Resources and Environment,” and “Agriculture and Forestry.”
Relatedly, county staff will also be providing an update on next steps with regard to an audit of the County’s zoning ordinance, which is also taking place this year. The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, and accompanying documents, can be found here.
To join the meeting on Wednesday evening, please use the log-in information provided below:
Zoom Meeting Link >>
Meeting ID: 882 7535 8941
1-888-475-4499 US Toll‐free
A few items caught my eye when looking over the materials for Wednesday’s meeting:
- PEC would be concerned by efforts to expand the county’s existing growth area, particularly west of Rt. 29, without a corresponding reduction elsewhere. In 2010, the county very deliberately shrunk its growth area from 15 to 6 percent of the county’s overall acreage based on public input that the larger growth area encouraged sprawl and negatively impacted the county’s rural character, and currently only 37 percent of the county’s existing growth area is developed or otherwise committed for development.
- Less than half (42%) of the commercial and residential growth that has occurred in the county since 2016 has been within the designated growth areas. The majority of new development should be occurring in Greene’s growth areas. What can be done to reverse the current trend, and therefore, better preserve the rural and agricultural character of Greene County?
- The “goals and implementation strategies” identified in each of these chapters, particularly the future land use chapter, could be meaningfully expanded on. Much of the language in the existing comprehensive plan reflects a commendable desire to preserve Greene’s rural character and to concentrate growth within the existing growth area, but the plan is often lacking when it comes to specific, actionable strategies to accomplish those goals. The county should consider adding in specific metrics and benchmark goals to measure its progress, as well as identify the changes to the county’s zoning and subdivision ordinances that would further these goals.
I hope you’ll consider tuning in on Wednesday and sharing with the county any thoughts you might have on what you would like the future of Greene County to look like. You can also provide written feedback directly to county planning staff via email@example.com.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Greene County Field Representative
The Piedmont Environmental Council