Planning & Code Enforcement
The mission of the Planning Department is to assist the Board of Commissioners in planning orderly growth and development, ensuring that development guidelines and regulations are followed in the establishment of subdivisions, commercial developments and zoning areas; and its main functions include overseeing operations of the Planning Commission, the Development Review Committee and related ordinances and documents.
The Planning Department staff provide daily services available to the public such as administrative plat review and approval, zoning verification, and answering general development, zoning and compliance inquiries. The Planning Department retains comprehensive records of rezoning, variance, and project information which are available for inspection or duplication upon request.
Planning Department staff serve as liaisons with businesses, developers, chambers of commerce, the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, local governments, state agencies, community organizations, and the general public regarding the development of strategic planning, transportation planning, service delivery strategy, the Future Land Use Plan, and local government facilities.
Planning Department staff provide support for existing and prospective businesses and developers and coordinate referrals to appropriate county departments. Staff meets with developers and businesses to expedite and facilitate development processes, procedures, and other related matters in the county and assists them with complying with all local codes.
Planning Department staff evaluate development proposals and infrastructure improvement plans; assist with cost/benefit analysis; and coordinate compliance with the comprehensive plan and other strategic & long-range plans adopted by the Board of Commissioners.
Planning Department staff assist the Board of Commissioners in preparation and updating of the Comprehensive Plan as required by State Law. The Comprehensive Plan is the long-range statement of how and where growth and development in the community are to be located in the future. It is adopted by ordinance and includes a number of "elements" (or chapters) related to the social, economic, and physical aspects of future development. Each of the elements includes a number of goals, objectives, and policies that are to be applied to public and private land development. Some of the elements also include future conditions maps (such as the future land use map, and the long-range transportation plan maps). All local land development regulations (such as zoning, subdivision regulations, and environmental ordinances) are to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
Some other areas staff is involved in include participation on regional planning organizations and committees. Staff also assist the Board of Commissioners with coordination of the county's land use plan, water, wastewater and transportation master plans, and coordinate maintenance and administration of the unified development code. Planning Department staff serve on the Technical Coordinating Committee of the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) and as an alternate on the MACORTS Policy Committee.