Planners recommend changed slope regulations

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Polk County Planning Board has recommended approval of the countys “20/20 Vision” plan, the recently completed comprehensive land use plan.
The document is in its final stages of development, with the county board of commissioners scheduled to hear recommended changes to the draft during a meeting held last night.
The county has already set a final open house and public hearing where the public will be able to hear about and give comments on the final draft. An open house to take questions from the community will be held on March 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the commissioners’ meeting room of the Womack building.
A public hearing will follow that open house on March 15 during the commissioners’ meeting that begins at 7 p.m.
The county planning board recently voted to recommend the plan for approval with minor changes.
Those changes included checking the projected income for households for accuracy, reverting percentages of slopes to degrees of slopes and increasing slope percentages by five percent in the categories of slope suitability.
The county created a special committee over a year ago to work on the comprehensive plan with 25 volunteers. The committee consists of volunteers from each township and town and the committee met frequently to draft the plan. The county also contracted with Holland Consultants to work on the plan.
The plan offers the following vision, “Polk Countys rural atmosphere and serene natural beauty will be vigorously protected. Visionary and pragmatic county and municipal governments will work together in a cooperative manner as they continue to enhance the quality of life for all Polk County citizens.”
The draft plan includes statistics and maps, future growth projections, historical information and information on the countys departments and services.
The plan also includes an action plan, which will help guide the county in the future of how to create ordinances. The committee in creating the plan took into consideration a survey that was sent to all county households with residents wants, likes and dislikes about Polk County.
Recommendations for changes in future zoning include expanding the zoning ordinance to include county-wide zoning, incorporating changes to support affordable housing, expanding ordinances to strengthen protecting agriculture/forestry and green space, requiring conditional use permits and incorporating provisions to address “big box” developments, among many other recommendations.
The writers suggest that the county should review and update the plan every two years.
The draft plan can be viewed online on the homepage of the countys website at

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