It is good that the Center for Community Preservation and Planning will hold educational meetings about the 2050 plan around the county. Despite its years in development, it remains an enigma to most people.
“The center will lead the meetings, delivering information to the public and hearing their feedback,” according to the announcement.
The question is whether feedback will translate into meaningful changes and compromises if there is public objection to certain issues. Members of the Board of Commissioners should be at each meeting to hear what the questions are so they can respond appropriately when the question is called.
There is significant opposition evolving in eastern Newton County to one major tenet of the baseline ordinances as currently written, that being the limit on new housing to one residence per 20 acres, not five, not 10, but 20. That may be a lovely visual for planners, but it is extremely unfair and unrealistic to say to land owners that their financial future and intergenerational legacy will be impinged upon to this extent.
To have a plan to guide Newton County’s growth and protect natural resources is wise. All parties should acknowledge this, but property owners in the eastern side of the county have a legitimate beef with the current plan. Holding land for generations is costly, but many families have done so in hopes and expectations that the financial future of their families could be secured through future development.
Barbara M. Morgan