Douglas County’s Comprehensive Planning Committee on Friday, Feb. 26, put the final touches on the plan that will guide development and resource management for the next decade.
For the first time since the county adopted its original Comprehensive Plan in December 2009, the committee members recommended the county develop a commission to guide the plan's implementation. After the original measure was created more than a decade ago, the body that developed it was dissolved.
“It may not be looked at again; that’s what’s scaring me,” said Supervisor Nick Baker, chairman of the comprehensive planning committee.
One of the keys to ensuring the plan isn’t just thrown on a shelf is to create a body responsible for implementation, said Jason Laumann, deputy director of Northwest Regional Planning Commission, which has been working with the committee to develop the updated proposal.
“I would advocate for a body that remains in place after the plan that would function in the same way a plan commission would,” Laumann said. “They would be responsible for coordinating and ensuring that all of the plan’s actions are seeing movement.”
Baker and Supervisor Sue Hendrickson, who is also a member of the comprehensive planning committee, said they supported creating a committee to implement the plan.
Laumann said he would be willing to guide development of the new commission. The body would work with departments on implementation and report back to the county board periodically.
The committee adopted a resolution Friday encouraging the Douglas County Board to set a public hearing and begin the process for the 30-day public comment period. The board will consider setting the hearing when it meets March 18.
A copy of the draft of the comprehensive plan is posted at www.nwrpc.com. Search for Douglas County Comprehensive Plan on the resources page.
In addition to land use, the proposal set goals for housing; transportation; utilities and community facilities; agriculture, cultural and natural resources; economic development; and intergovernmental cooperation.
Housing goals include encouraging development in areas that don't negatively impact natural resources and promoting alternatives to septic systems.
Transportation goals include maintaining and improving highway infrastructure; encouraging alternative modes of transportation; and developing a regional transportation plan.
Other goals include expanding broadband access in the county; encouraging heritage tourism; identifying high-priority natural resources; encouraging growth away from ecologically sensitive areas; and diversifying the economy.