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Local leaders study plan for coast development
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A group of Liberty elected officials gathered at an unannounced meeting this week to learn about the county’s role as guinea pig in launching the Coastal Comprehensive Plan.
County Commission Chairman John McIver said he had asked the Department of Community Affairs to hold the session for Liberty officials because he is concerned about coastal growth, and, in particular, the guidelines that will come with the comprehensive plan.
“Those performance standards may be hard for some of our smaller municipalities to meet,” he said. McIver knows the operations of small cities first hand because of his many years as mayor of Riceboro.
With seven municipalities, Liberty County has far more jurisdictions than any of the other five “waterfront” counties, except Chatham with its eight.
Camden County has three cities, Bryan, two; and McIntosh, one; and Glynn, one.
The comp plan originated with a February 2005 executive order by Gov. Sonny Perdue recognizing the special importance and sensitivity of the coast.
The document was to have been presented to the governor in September of this year.
DCA and the Coastal Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee have held two rounds of stakeholder meetings at different coastal locations and intend to eventually hold a third.
Survey results presented at the public meetings show most residents prefer the Georgia coast remain “rural and undeveloped.”

Mike Gleaton of DCA said in Liberty, “The LCPC gives you a huge advantage compared to some of your neighbors,”
The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission provides planning and zoning services to the county and its municipalities.
McIver, Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe and Midway Mayor Don Emmons are among the members of the advisory committee for the coastal plan.
Adriane Wood, DCA project manager for the plan, said the Liberty County meeting of elected officials was the first such session, making them the guinea pigs for meetings to be held in each of the six counties.
At some point, DCA plans another round of stakeholder hearings. Wood said the draft plan should be posted on the DCA website by the first week in December. 

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