Image Link 09/13/2017

Elbert County Comprehensive Plan
Meeting #2 - September 13, 2017

What is a Comprehensive Plan? Public document required by state law. Outlines how the county should develop; promotes harmonious development of the county. Land-use regulations flow from the plan.

1996 Current Master Plan. Themes described in current vision statement: small rural town values and agricultural heritage; safe for children and quality education; balance of ag, open space, recreation, commerce, industry and residential; preservation of natural resources and environment; respect private property rights; county and town governments work together; new development pays its own way; commerce and industry work together.

2009 Housing section of Master Plan updated.

2016 Open Lands Study - done to help landowners explore a range of options for the future of their land, assist conservation organizations and identify open land partnerships and guide decision makers as development pressures increase.

2017 Water Supply Study - currently in progress

Comprehensive Plan Update:

-guides inevitable future growth and development

-establishes consistent vision of future land uses, parks and open spaces, community facilities, transportation and utilities

-informs county leaders in decision-making concerning community character, economic development, historic preservation, cultural and environmental resource conservation

-focuses on financial resources and sets priorities

Evaluating Alternatives:

Citizens had keypads for polling.

-Planning context: bulk of citizens live in unincorporated EC

-What kind of population should we plan for? State says EC will double in next 20 years with 29,000 more people (will need 8500 additional housing units)

-More than 1/3 of current residents have lived in EC longer than 15 years

-96% of county zoned agricultural

Polling results: (following responses elicited/highest percentages per attending audience)

-Rural lifestyle is most highly valued characteristic (defined as low density development)

-How would citizens prefer to see growth occur? - encourage development of needed commercial and services followed closely by preference for large lots (5 acres or more)

-Biggest concerns related to accommodating new growth - increased traffic and depletion of water resources

-Best tools for retaining and increasing younger population - encourage and incentivize retail/commercial development

-To support affordable housing (defined as $150,000 or less) - encourage development of multi-family housing and smaller lot development

Summary of economic conditions in EC by DesignWorkshop:

-majority of county revenue comes from property taxes

-property taxes from residential development typically do not cover costs to provide services

-costs of services exceed revenues

More polling results:

-What tools should be used to support economic development in EC - encourage development of commercial along I70 and provide tax incentives

-Where should retail/commercial development take place - Elizabeth, Kiowa and NW part of county

-Where should industrial development be targeted - Elizabeth, Agate, Eastern Elbert County

Presented density comparisons with various sized lots/acreages. From “Chip Game” (at April presentation) - most agreed:

-new growth should be near existing development

-higher densities should happen within existing towns

-improvements to transportation network are important

Development suitability:

-40% of land in county designated as low suitability for open space presentation; 33% has medium suitability; 25% has high suitability. Currently 7% of county land is developed for residential uses. Still about 75% of EC land optimum for development.

Alternatives proposed to accommodate increased population:

1) Business as usual - residential development acreage will increase from 7% of county land to 13%; average 5 acre lots

2) Reduced Development Density - average 10 acre lots

3) Cluster Near Towns - preserves 50% open space; residential development area increases from 7% to 8%; average 1 acre lots

4) Encourage Growth in East - preserves 50% highly suitable open space; average 1 acre lots

5) 35 Acre Subdivisions - residential development area increases from 7% to 37%; significant reduction of agricultural lands

6) Clustered near Existing Services - residential development area increases from 7% to 11%; range of densities

More polling results:

-Preference for development scenario - clustered near existing services and towns

-Helpfulness of meeting in providing information about the Comprehensive Plan/planning process - large percentage of audience said “yes”

-Plan to attend next public meeting in November - most said “yes”

Design Workshop will take responses from tonight’s meeting to formulate next program:
Wednesday, November 15, Fairgrounds -
6PM Open House, 6:30 Presentation

-Jill Duvall