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Leadership Collaborative reboots effort to implement 2050 plan
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A large group needs to keep lines of communication open.

So, members of Newton County's Leadership Collaborative, a group of officials from business, schools and various government entities, agreed Wednesday that they want to have more meetings as a group and to keep in closer touch through e-mail.

The collaborative is responsible for developing the 2050 Build Out Plan, which seeks to corral growth into an already dense corridor that runs east-west through the heart of the county, while protecting large agricultural and conservation zones. The plan seeks to protect trees, watersheds and greenspace while saving government money and creating a sense of community by centralizing growth and infrastructure.

The group had identified 12 short-term actions it wants to carry out, including adjusting zoning and limiting water and sewer lines development to encourage compact communities, supporting development of Bear Creek Reservoir, starting up a career academy and working on a transfer development rights ordinance.
But some leaders have become confused about how the group is implementing the plan.

Covington participants said last month that they felt the monthly meetings held by the collaborative three committees had become stagnant. The committees work on comprehensive development, intergovernmental communications and comprehensive funding.

Wednesday, the group had its mid-year meeting in Oxford and discussed ways to get back on track.
Newton County Commission Chairman Kathy Morgan said the county has been working on implementing the tasks assigned to it, but said that it hadn't communicated its progress to others. Commissioner Nancy Schulz pointed to the recently completed of the Almon Overlay ordinance, which will control growth in the Almon area. Almon is destined to be a node of development under the plan, similar to a city.

The group decided it will have two more meetings per year where the entire collaborative will be present, to increase communication and allow them to discuss important issues.

The group also decided to attempt to increase e-mail communication and will continue to work to describe the plan to each entity's employees, in preparation for public meetings to unveil the plan.