Updated: Nov 30, 2021
MOUND CITY – On Monday, Nov. 1, Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower introduced Jennifer Reinhardt from the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), the company developing the new comprehensive plan. She also noted that David Fisher and Rich Morrell from the citizen's advisory committee were also there to answer any questions.
Hightower handed out a preliminary draft of the visions, values and goals of proposed comprehensive plan which had been developed from public survey results, public workshop participation, focus group conversations, and meetings of the citizens advisory committee.
Reinhardt then updated the Linn County Commissioners on the progress of the comprehensive plan. She said that the document outlines developments for the next 20 years. It is a draft vision that shows what, based on recent surveys, residents would like to see as a overarching vision for the county for the next 20 years to guide the plan.
It has some values and then the goals with measurable objectives, she said. The committee then organized the five main goals that came up under the topics.
Reinhardt said the committee wanted to get this document in front of the commissioners in case they wanted to offer some feedback and to let them know the next steps in the process.
The committee is using this as the blueprint and are coming up with detailed objectives for each of the goals, she said, then organizing them in a five-year, a 10-year and then a 20-year plan to help elected officials and decision-makers prioritize how to achieve the goals.
The committee members wanted to make this a useful document that reflects the wishes of residents, she said. Making it a useable document is a main goal.
Reinhardt said the groups plans to have several smaller focus groups planned for November. She suggested commissioners might be invited to one focusing more on the zoning regulations as the group starts to have some more specific language.
The comprehensive plan will have the overall, the vision, the goals, the objectives, then the zoning regulations will have more of the recommended language to maybe change the zoning districts or definitions in the current development regulations.
Reinhardt also said that the county has created a future land-use map of the county.
Those will be recommendations that will eventually come before the commission to approve, and that a public open house in December will give those working on the plan an opportunity to update the public and also get some more public feedback now that we have this draft document, she said.
Reinhardt said that the committee is also working on a future land use map that will identify some different opportunity areas.
Linn County Commission Chair Rick James asked if this was a priority list. Reinhardt said that this was not a priority list, but the one they are working on now does break them up into the 5, 10, and 20-year categories. She said that Internet and water are in the five-year plan.
Below is the text of the draft values, visions and goals:
Linn County Comprehensive Plan DRAFT Community Vision, Values, and Goals
The following overarching community vision, values, and goals were identified throughout the community feedback process including public survey results, public workshop participation, focus group conversations, and meetings of the citizens advisory committee.
By 2042, Linn County will boast a prosperous local economy that preserves our rural character and provides every resident the opportunity to thrive. Elected officials and decision makers regularly use the comprehensive plan to create and maintain healthy communities.
The following Community Values will serve as guiding principles throughout the comprehensive plan and will inform Linn County’s future policies:
• Strengthen our existing infrastructure and community assets. • Protect the natural beauty and open space that make our county special. • Promote a healthy lifestyle for residents of all ages and abilities. • Coordinate growth with cities and lake communities and foster a regionalism
•Pursue multiple revenue sources to support county services. •Incorporate vigorous and ongoing community engagement.
I. Mobility and Infrastructure
Internet: Improve broadband internet access to meet the needs of the unserved or underserved areas of the county.
Water: Improve countywide access to high quality drinking water, particularly in times of emergency.
Transportation: Support well-connected and well-maintained roads that minimize flooding and promote public safety.
II. Economic Growth & Vitality
Jobs: Promote job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship with a particular focus on emerging market trends.
Tourism: Promote heritage tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities in the county.
Retail: Support existing small businesses while attracting new retail options to serve Linn County residents and visitors alike.
Economy: Extend the life of the power plant and prioritize additional revenue sources. Increase public awareness about the impact of the current energy industry on the local economy.
III. Quality of Life
Housing: Support a wide variety of high-quality housing options that are affordable and accessible, allowing our elderly to age in place.
Amenities: Support more countywide amenities located in cities and lake communities that provide active programming for residents of all ages.
Public Health & Safety: Improve support services and access to care for all residents, with special attention to the needs of veterans and active-duty military, the elderly, and youth.
IV. Future Land Use
Natural Resources: Maintain environmentally sensitive areas to manage stormwater and protect open space and agricultural resources.
Building Code: Reform the local development process so it is clear, concise, and easy-to-follow. Apply consistent building code enforcement countywide.
Zoning: Focus new development in existing cities and coordinate growth in clearly defined areas while ensuring quality development. Update zoning regulations to limit industrial wind turbine development as well as address other emerging issues.
Cooperation: Conduct regular meetings to improve the overall communication and coordination between the county, city, and lakeside communities.
Accountability: Conduct “Status Report” public updates every five years to review progress on each goal, celebrate major accomplishments, and reevaluate community priorities.
Financing: Actively identify and apply for external funding opportunities to achieve the goals of the comprehensive plan.