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Locals speak out at 2050 hearing
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The first public hearing for the 2050 Plan was held Monday night, giving the public an opportunity to let themselves be heard.

Newton County was represented with, by our count, no less than 86 people, and another hundred or so watching live online at All with questions, all with concerns and all eager to find out more about the proposed plan. It was a good showing for the first public hearing, and we hope the attendance will only grow in numbers as the next four are presented throughout the county.

However, with a document of 200 pages, an hour and a half meeting — including brief time for comments and questions — wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy the appetites of people wanting to know how their county will be guided and changed going forward.

Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall, who served as the evening’s master of ceremonies of sorts, seemed open to different types of formats going forward. It would be good for the community if they could hear an overview and then more details about the massive, massive document. Also a whole evening of public comments and questions wouldn’t be enough time.

Toward the end of the evening, a line formed for questions and concerns, some asking questions the code writers were already working on, others with questions that need to be addressed and some posing questions that sparked more questions.

We not only hope the questions and interest among the citizens keep coming, but we hope that they spark a quality representation of the public in the final plan.

Monday night was a good start. But it was just a start. There is a lot of talk, that this will be a long process, one with several drafts. Meetings such as Monday’s and questions by our community will help shape those revisions, and they will both poke holes in the plan and fill in gaps.

One attendee asked if he had more than three children — the plan allows for land to be handed down and divided among three recipients — what would happen to, say, the other four if he had seven children. The code writers conducting the meeting seemed to take that into consideration for the next revision.

A woman in the crowd asked what she would see with her property on the west side of Newton County due to what the code has zoned for her area.

These questions and dialogue are important. Please keep them coming Newton County. Elected officials, keep listening and incorporating the thoughts of the public you serve.