On Monday night, the Covington City Council approved transmittal of the city's 2028 Comprehensive Plan to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review.
Once officially adopted, the Comprehensive Plan and its Future Development Map will be used in reference to making rezoning and capitol investment decisions in directing public investment and private initiatives, as well as a guide in day-to-day decisions.
The city's Comprehensive Plan is being developed by the firm Jordan, Jones & Goulding.
The Comprehensive Plan includes an analysis of past trends and projected growth in the city, a program of public collaboration and a strategy for implementing the Covington community's vision of the city's future.
According to the Community Assessment portion of the Comprehensive Plan, population increases to the city could vary greatly with assessments ranging from 21,800 to 32,500 by 2028. However, the population figure of 26,900 is felt to be a good estimate.
The figure assumes that the city will continue to annex much of the land between the Yellow River and the Alcovy River.
The Comprehensive Plan includes advice on land use controls for major corridors through the city, a focus on more traditional neighborhood developments, the promotion of job growth and efforts to preserve the historic character of the city.
Covington Mayor Sam Ramsey emphasized that nothing is set in stone and the Comprehensive Plan is just a benchmark for city planners to go by.
"This plan is a guideline for the Planning Commission to go by if they want to," said Ramsey. "It is not binding. Just cause you've got it drawn up on a pretty map that this is where it's gonna go isn't necessarily so."
Comments and guidance from the regional and state offices are expected back in several months. After receiving comments from the RDC and the DCA, the city council may adopt the Comprehensive Plan. The adoption period may take up to two months, with final adoption expected by the end of the year.