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West Point reviews 2020-2040 updated comprehensive plan

The West Point City Council is set to vote on the city’s 2020-2040 comprehensive plan. With some discussion in recent work sessions, the plan is scheduled to be voted on at Monday’s business meeting. The plan was originally supposed to be updated by October 2020, but, the city was granted one waiver by the state of Georgia. The deadline to approve and file the updated plan is now Feb 28, 2021.

According to the Georgia Planning Act of 1989, the state of Georgia requires that local governments develop and adopt a comprehensive plan.

During the Jan. 26 work session, councilwoman DeeDee Williams expressed concern that half of the 2015-2020 projects had been either postponed or canceled.

“To look at what we’ve actually accomplished, what we’ve actually checked off as completed, we’ve completed a very low percentage of what was in the plan, that’s a concern of mine,” Williams said.

Of the 22 projects listed on the 2015-2020 plan, six projects are listed as completed, five are currently underway, six have been postponed and five have been canceled.

All six of the postponed projects have been moved to this new comprehensive work plan, giving hope that they will be completed within the next five years.

The purpose of the comprehensive plan is to provide guidance and policy standards for future growth and development. The plan considers the current state of the city by identifying the needs and opportunities the community has chosen to address. The plan spans a twenty-year timeframe designed to steer the growth of the city.

The city of West Point put together a Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee that is comprised of city staff and citizens of West Point, along with the Three Rivers Regional Commission, to put together the city’s plan. The plan includes a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, needs and opportunities, community goals and policies and a broadband element. Community Development Director, Dennis Dutton said the broadband element was recently added by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs due to the heavy push for infrastructure to have broadband statewide. “Luckily, we are in a good situation that we’re ahead of the county and along with the cities because of the industrial development that we have,” Dutton told the council at the Jan. 26 work session.

Also included in the community goals and policies section of the plan are seven very specific goals for the city of West Point to accomplish, along what will be done to ensure each specific goal is met.

The specific goals listed in the plan are as follows:

4Economic Expansion – to promote sustainable economic expansion and quality development throughout West Point

4Efficient land use – manage land use, infrastructure and resources efficiently and sensitively

4Improve quality housing options – promote the availability of quality, safe, affordable and diverse housing options in West Point

4Transportation options – enhance and create efficient transportation options that increase mobility and access including employment, goods and service, healthcare and recreation.

4Employment diversity – maintain and seek to expand a diverse range of businesses and employment opportunities.

4Community facilities – create, maintain and promote community facilities which enhance the quality of life for both citizens and visitors of West Point.

4Preserve resources – preserve and promote West Point’s historic, cultural and natural resources.

Under the newly created broadband services element of the plan, there are also five very specific goals and strategies that the city hopes to meet in the next five years.

Those broadband goals are:

4Ensure essential telecommunication services for all residents, businesses, and local government agencies (especially public safety and emergency services) are reliable and redundant/diverse.

4All residents should have affordable high-speed broadband access in their homes.

4Competitively-priced high-speed broadband infrastructure throughout the county is developed to attract, retain and develop internet- reliant businesses.

4Local government to take leadership in broadband issues – adopt policies to facilitate broadband deployment, and find ways to leverage existing assets.

4Local government to develop a comprehensive broadband plan.

The plan is expected to pass the city council before being filed with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in time to meet the Feb 28 deadline.

Should the council not pass this plan, it is likely the deadline will not be met and the city could face penalties by the DCA.

“Failure to adopt the comprehensive plan by jurisdiction would put you on a listing by DCA and the community could lose their qualified local government status,” Dutton said.  “Which would cause us to lose funding or potential grants or low interest loans.”

In other council business, Mayor Steve Tramell added to the service delivery strategy discussion saying he was to meet with Troup County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews in the coming week to further discuss the terms of the SDS. Currently, Troup County and the city of LaGrange are the only two entitles that have agreed to the proposed terms. Tramell told the commission he would continue the discussion.

“Well, we’ll continue this discussion, and like I say we’re going to have another meeting this coming week,” Tramell said. “I really think we’re going to end up in mediation, but we’ll see how it goes.”

The council will meet virtually Monday at 5:30 p.m. EST.