Shaping Our Community
Our community is not the same place it was 20 years ago, nor will it be the same place 20 years from now. Athens-Clarke County is an exciting and vibrant community. One of the fundamental responsibilities of local government is planning and the preparation of plans. Like other communities all over the country, Athens-Clarke County must take active, thoughtful steps to preserve a high quality of life. The path to accomplishing this goal involves planning for how land is to be used, protecting the natural environment, designing visually appealing places, and developing a transportation system that integrates a variety of options.
Developing the Plan
Athens-Clarke County is not alone in the development of comprehensive plans. Every county in Georgia has prepared and must maintain viable comprehensive plan documents. The Georgia Planning Act of 1989 articulates the requirement that every local government in Georgia develop a comprehensive plan meeting the minimum established standards in order to maintain qualified local government certification. The same act gives the Department of Community Affairs the authority to establish these standards and procedures for appropriate and timely comprehensive planning by all local governments.
The purpose of the Community Comprehensive Plan is to help the community address critical issues and opportunities while moving toward realization of a unique vision for the future. Comprehensive plans for every local government in Georgia are required by state statute (OCGA 50-8-7.1 et seq.). Athens-Clarke County and the City of Winterville adopted the current Community Comprehensive Plan in March 1999. The update to this plan is due in 2028.
Updating the Plan
Because Athens-Clarke County has so many wonderful features, it is important that we all work together to protect and enhance them. Now it is time to take a look at our existing Comprehensive Plan and make sure that its vision still holds true for our community. Every 10 years, communities within Georgia revisit their comprehensive plans and every 5 years, communities look at how they have met short-term goals determined in the Comprehensive Plan. There have been many changes in Athens-Clarke County in the past 10 years. Now is the time for us to refine and rededicate this vision for the future of our community. The goal, of course, is to plan for future growth in a way that improves our remaining problem areas while at the same time enhances the many existing assets that define Athenians’ exceptional quality of life.