City council members approve comprehensive plan update
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
The Madison City Council unanimously approved a five-year update to the city’s 10-year comprehensive plan at their regular meeting on Monday, following a long discussion of the document at a work session last Friday.
“We are required by law to adopt a 10-year comprehensive plan—that’s part of the Georgia Planning Act,” said City Planning Director Monica Callahan. “At the five-year point, we’re required to update our Short-Term Work Plan, or STWP,” said Callahan.
To complicate matters slightly, the state has passed new standards for the comprehensive plan since the completion of the city’s (and county’s ) current plan in 2004.
The update to the plan includes an analysis of areas of “disinvestment” (areas in which the tax base may be eroding); identification of empty sites and buildings; and identification of “sensitivity areas” such as historic, natural, and cultural resources.
The city will also append to update its recently completed “Greenprint” and its 2007 transportation study.
“This is an update; it does not revise our entire comprehensive plan,” said Callahan.
The city invites the public to attend an open house for those interested in learning more about the update this Saturday, January 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Madison Firehouse on Main Street.
The city will continue to take input on the update for another two weeks, then plans to transmit the update to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center (along with the updates to the comprehensive plans of the county and other municipalities in the county) after the city formally adopts the update on February 9.
At last Friday’s work session, the council also reviewed the city’s recently-completed draft Greenprint plan and map. The Greenprint identifies and describes natural resources of every description within the city, including natural areas, riparian areas, greenspace buffers, agrarian landscapes, potential trails, gateway areas, and recreational areas.
Consultant Christine McCauley helped the city develop the document, which identifies 10 goals related to the city’s natural areas and which will become a part of the city’s comprehensive plan.
“The City of Madison has been successful in providing greenspace and recreational area to the residents of Madison,” wrote McCauley in the Greenprint.
“However, most stakeholders see the need for additional greenspace to fully serve the needs of all residents of the City, and they have identified natural areas, passive recreation opportunities, and more linked greenspaces for developing a trail system as their highest priorities.”
Published in the January 29, 2009 edition.