COVINGTON, Ga. — A baker’s dozen, including the mayor, council members, city staff and residents, was appointed to serve on the steering committee of the city of Covington’s impending comprehensive plan update.
A comprehensive plan serves as a decision-making guide for local government officials and community leaders, and is updated regularly. The last update to the city’s comprehensive plan came in 2018.
Organizing a steering committee is one of the first and arguably most integral steps in updating the plan. The comprehensive plan identifies needs and opportunities, goals and policies, land use practices, and an implementation framework for key elements based on input from the public and a steering committee.
The comprehensive plan process typically follows the rules of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Minimum Standards and Procedures for Local Comprehensive Planning.
Mayor Steve Horton said during the Monday, April 18, council meeting that he wanted the committee to be one that adequately represented the entire community. Members of the committee approved unanimously by the council were:
• Steve Horton, mayor
• Kenneth Morgan, council
• Fleeta Baggett, council
• Scott Andrews, city manager
• Tres Thomas, city engineer and development director
• John King, assistant city manager
• Marc Beechuk, city planning director
• Serra P. Hall, Newton County Industrial Development Authority
• Shamica Tucker, Covington Housing Authority
• Cathy Laseter, Covington resident
• Shawn McGovern, planning commission vice chair
• Willie Davis, Covington resident
•Janet Goodman, Covington resident
It is not uncommon to have several members of the city’s staff to be on the committee due to information and resources they possess, Horton said.
For the 2018 update, the planning process reportedly began with a public hearing and was followed by a series of community input sessions during which the public and a local steering committee were invited to discuss local trends and aspirations.
Steering committee members took questions and comments throughout the process, and an online questionnaire was also administered to provide additional feedback from the public.
A final public hearing was held before the plan was submitted to DCA for review.
The first meeting of the newly appointed steering committee is slated for Monday, May 9, Beechuk said, and the comprehensive plan is due to DCA by February.
A public hearing is also slated for May 9 at the Welcome Center in Covington, beginning at 5:30 p.m.