Completed draft of county comprehensive plan presented to commission

Updated: Sep 1


MOUND CITY – Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower and Jennifer Reinhardt with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), the company contracted to complete the county’s comprehensive plan, presented the updated plan to the commissioners on Monday, August 15.


Before the presentation, Commissioner Rick James, who had been pushing for the completion of the plan told Hightower that if she wanted it approved today that it was not going to happen.


He said that since the plan was for the next 20 years in Linn County, he wanted Commission Chair Jim Johnson to be there so he could ask questions. Johnson was absent but County Clerk David Lamb said that he would be available by phone if needed.


Hightower reported that the public hearing for the comprehensive plan was held in front of the planning commission last Tuesday, August 9. She said there were 11 members of the public at the meeting.

“A few people spoke,” she said. “All were in support of the plan.”


Hightower told the commissioners that the action taken by the planning commission was to recommend approval of the plan as written with a 6-0 vote.


McCullough asked what the biggest change was from the old plan.


Hightower said she did not know how to answer that because the whole plan had been rewritten. The information was taken from over 500 surveys from members of the public to form this plan. The goals and objectives were written based on that input. And also, input from four public meetings that had good attendance.


James asked Reinhardt how she thought the process went. He asked if it was good as far as community input and the boards that were set up. Did the committee come up with a reasonable and good plan to go by, he asked.


“I do,” Reinhardt said, “and I did want to make a comment about the really committed level of engagement with the citizen’s steering committee and the planning commissioners. Everyone was really involved with the contents of the plan and making sure it was reflective of the community.”


James asked about the involvement of cities in the plan. Hightower said some city officials were involved in meetings.


James expressed concern that housing was an issue in the county.


Reinhardt said that from the beginning, housing was a huge priority that was identified, including availability and affordability. And also having more options for aging community members who want to stay in the county.


Much of the conversation of the committee focused on how housing connected to other sections of the plan, how broadband Internet would help people to come here to start businesses, people being able to work from home and connect to education.


“So with housing, it was a way for the county to incentivize quality of life, and housing is a piece of that,” said Reinhardt.


What input did the cities have on the development of the plan, asked James.


Reinhardt said that was a great question because it goes into a larger question about how the county can support the cities. The committee spent a lot of time talking about the role of county and the county not overstepping its authority, especially with cities. She said the committee looked for the county and the cities to work together.


The idea is to strengthen the cities bond with the county because the development of the downtown areas would benefit the county as a whole, said Reinhardt.

“It’s a good working document,” said James. “I don’t have any problems with it.”

The current draft of the plan is available online on the county's website. Click here for the link.

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