Polk schedules public hearing on 20/20 vision plan amendments
COLUMBUS-The Polk County Board of Commissioners is inviting the public to provide comments on revisions to the county’s 20/20 vision plan.
Commissioners met Sept. 5 and set a public hearing for Monday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.
Commissioners heard from interim economic development director Jim Edwards on the proposed revisions.
Edwards said the vision plan is still a working document as employees continue to find errors and receive additional information.
“The plan really did not change significantly in terms of its content,” Edwards said. “What we really did was bring in new information.”
Edwards said he thinks the county will be amazed at the number of things that have been accomplished since the plan was originally adopted.
The county appointed a visioning committee in 2007 to create a comprehensive plan to guide the county for the next 10-20 years.
Most of the new information came from the census and the American Community Survey. Edwards aid when the recession hit things kind of slowed down between 2009-2014. During Polk’s fast growth, the county was growing 25 percent a decade and the median age continues to get older at a 12 percent increase from 2000. Edwards also said the housing growth continued strong in Polk County until the recession.
Building permits began to soften in 2008-2009 and permit activity was relatively low until the last couple of years where the county is seeing a little bit of a pickup, Edwards said.
Economic drivers for Polk County currently are the equine industry with the addition of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, viticulture, agriculture, proprietorships and entrepreneurship (small businesses) and tourism. There has been a decline in manufacturing in Polk County.
Unemployment is also trending back down in Polk County following the recession.
Edwards said Polk County’s future land use map is unchanged except adding a module at U.S. 74 and Pea Ridge Road for TIEC.
The draft plan is available to see on the county’s website at polknc.org. Edwards said all the changes to the plan are shown in red type, so it’s easy to see anything that has been updated from the original document.
Polk County’s 20/20 Vision Plan won a state award after it was originally adopted.
Some of the highlights of the plan include that Polk County experienced an average growth rate of 1.3 percent from 2009-2014; the county’s median age grew from 44.9 in 2000 to 50.5 in 2014, which was an increase of 12.5 percent; and the county’s housing unit growth remained strong between 2000-2010, increasing by 24.4 percent, but from 2010-2014 growth slowed to only 0.1 percent, reflecting the lingering impacts of the recession.
The public hearing will begin the meeting at 7 p.m. in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus.