Whitfield County looking for help from citizens in updating comprehensive plan

Feb. 18—Whitfield County is starting to update its comprehensive plan, and officials are looking for citizens interested in helping develop that new plan.

"Every five years, Whitfield County reviews and revises its comprehensive plan, and in order to do so, we need a committee of citizens to participate in that," said County Administrator Robert Sivick.

Sivick said he is hoping to "get a good broad section" of county residents and is asking those who wish to serve to contact him at rsivick@whitfieldcountyga.com.

Sivick said the committee will likely meet monthly through October, when the plan is due to be completed.

Whitfield County Planner Ethan Calhoun said the plan will also cover the cities of Dalton, Cohutta, Tunnel Hill and Varnell and is due to be completed by Oct. 31. Calhoun said updates of the county plan are required by the Georgia Planning Act of 1989, which authorized the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) as the state agency responsible for overseeing local government compliance.

"Every city and county government in the state of Georgia must complete an update to their comprehensive plan every five years in order to be considered a Qualified Local Government (QLG) by the DCA," Calhoun said.

Any city or county that fails to maintain its QLG status will be denied state or federal grants and loan funding until its QLG status is restored.

"The Whitfield County Joint Comprehensive Plan will cover topics including economic development, housing, future land development, public infrastructure and other issues or opportunities identified in the planning process," said Calhoun. "The majority of the planning process will take place through the spring and summer of 2023 which will include city and county staff meetings, steering committee meetings and multiple public input opportunities.

"This process is expected to yield a draft comprehensive plan by early September for review by the public and the DCA to ensure adequate time for the plan's adoption by Oct. 31."