Polk UDO committee gets organized to start work on consolidating development regulations

Published 7:32 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The newly appointed Polk County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Advisory Committee met last month at the Polk County Library. The focus of this initial meeting was to organize the committee and appoint committee officers, discuss the project schedule, and to discuss committee members thoughts and concerns relating to the UDO and the County Comprehensive Plan, otherwise known as the Vision 20/20 Plan.

The purpose of the UDO Advisory Committee is to assist the county hired planner Dale Holland of Holland Consulting Planners, Inc., in developing a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). A UDO is a user-friendly document that consolidates all the various regulations that govern development into one unified ordinance.

The appointed committee members are Evangelena Barber, Henry Bright, Mark Byington (chair), Jim Carson, Emily Clark (vice-chair), commissioner Ray Gasperson, Doug Harmon, Wayne Horne, Lisa Krolak, commissioner Renee McDermott, Roger Odel, Harry Peterson, and Christel Walter. The committee is supported by Polk County Planning staff members Cathy Ruth and Ange High (secretary). &bsp;

Committee members echoed each other often in communicating their thoughts and concerns, with much discussion focusing on protecting small town atmospheres, and rural, agricultural, equestrian, and mountain wilderness areas from over-development that would result in a loss of value and the very nature of what makes Polk County special.

These concerns were shared with a general agreement that economic growth is needed and can be fully achieved while still protecting the area’s unique character.

This underlying agreement underscored the fact that despite the diversity of backgrounds of the committee members, all of the members have the same wishes and ideas about the future of the area they call home.

This is not surprising given the consistency of these wishes and ideas with those expressed in majority in the two county wide surveys that were initiated over the past decade. In fact, these overwhelming public concerns and ideas formed the very basis of the Polk County 20/20 Vision Plan, and the committee as a whole recognizes that the UDO must strive to support the 20/20 Vision Plan and the will of the citizens of Polk County.

During the meeting it was agreed that the committee will strive to communicate freely and effectively with the public it represents, which is the purpose of this article.

The group plans to report regularly on the progress of the committee and the development of the UDO. Committee members also say they would like to remind everyone that all meetings are open to the public.

The next scheduled Unified Development Ordinance Committee meeting will be on Monday, August 30, at 7 p.m. at the Polk County Library in Columbus.

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