Commission receives update on progress of comprehensive plan

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

MOUND CITY – Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower met with the Linn County Commission on Monday, Aug. 2, to discuss the upcoming comprehensive plan meeting and Internet.

Hightower told the commissioners that it seemed that the one issue that had risen to the top of concerns was broadband service in parts of the county, especially the west side.

Hightower informed the commissioners that there was a federal grant through the

American Rescue Plan Act for extending Internet to underserved areas and that she would like to apply for it.

Discussion was held on how the distribution of that money would look, possibly to several telephone companies. County Counselor Gary Thompson said that he would look into how that could be done.

Commission Chair Rick James asked Hightower how she knew how much money to ask for. Hightower said there was not amount listed on the grant information.

Thompson explained that some grants would have a lid on how much you could get. Hightower gave Thompson the grant paperwork to review .

James said he was all for looking into it.

Hightower reported that the comprehensive plan committee was meeting on Tuesday and they were going to go over what was brought up at the three public meetings and start digging into the previous comprehensive plan.

Hightower said that the committee would go over the topics that were brought up and talked about the most.Based on those topics, its members would start shaping how to change the plan going forward.

She said that topics submitted by residents at those meetings included wanting a county recreation center, concern about the power plant closing, and wanting designated commercial zones or growth zones where the county would specifically zone for development.

Hightower said there would be three or four more meetings to break out the existing comprehensive plan, see what the committee wanted to keep and what it wanted to change. She also said she hoped to pare it down the current 147 pages so it is digestible.

She said a lot of the information can be moved to appendices. After the committee is through going through the plan and addressing changes it would like to make, there could be a public hearing to present the changes to the public. After that it will go before the commissioners.

James pointed out that the county’s planning and zoning committee should see the plan too. They have some concerns about it, he explained. The plan is to update the comprehensive plan and then the plan will guide how the county sets the planning and zoning codes.

James then brought up the possible federal infrastructure funds that might come to Linn County.

“I would like to not go into the next century and still have all gravel roads in Linn County,” he said, adding that he would like the committee to work on which roads should get priority for being paved.

Thompson added at least the process for designating areas should be discussed.

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