The Georgia Department of Community Affairs presented the Oconee County Planning and Code Enforcement Department with its PlanFirst Community designation at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, November 5, in recognition of the county’s successful Comprehensive Plan implementation and ongoing commitment to outstanding community planning and development with significant public involvement. An official PlanFirst designation ceremony will be held at the State Capitol in early 2020. The PlanFirst designation will remain in place through December 31, 2022, at which time Oconee County may re-apply for the designation. PlanFirst applicants are evaluated in the following areas:
· Community and goals
· Community leadership
· Community participation in the development of a Comprehensive Plan
· Successful community implementation of the Comprehensive Plan
Applications are reviewed by a multi-agency panel, which includes the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and other state agencies, as well as other organizations that include the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia Municipal Association, and the Georgia Planning Association. Following a positive review by the panel, a site visit is conducted.
Oconee County’s Comprehensive Plan is the county’s guiding document for decisions about land use, development, community improvement, and investment. The Comprehensive Plan is updated every ten years based on input from the public, the Comprehensive Plan steering committee, and local government officials. The most recent update occurred in 2018.
“This recognition is truly a reflection of the community we live in and the Board that represents it,” said Planning & Code Enforcement Director Guy Herring. “It is a reflection of a community that desires an aesthetically pleasing, quality built environment, as well as a government that is thoughtful and develops plans based on the vision provided by the community, then executes the plan in a strategic and fiscally responsible manner. That is exactly what this PlanFirst certification recognizes in Oconee County, and we are grateful to the Board, staff, and community for their support of the Oconee County Comprehensive Plan.”