KINGSLAND — City and county officials never considered the possible impact of a spaceport the last time they met to discuss Camden County’s Joint Comprehensive Plan.
But it is one of many issues that each municipality in Camden County will have to consider before the plan is updated by the October 2018 deadline.
Lupita McClenning, director of planning and government services for the Coastal Regional Commission, said one goal is to ask two questions with a simple yes or no answer: Do you have it? Do you want it?
She said the goal of the first meeting is to get the word out about the comprehensive plan and the need for public participation and input.
The ongoing development of a master plan in St. Marys and common goals stated in the county’s master plan will be helpful to the creation of the new comprehensive plan, McClenning said.
Jeff Adams, community development director in St. Marys, said a recently completed sea rise study in town will help other municipalities with their plans. He gave examples of the impacts hurricanes Katrina and Sandy had on flood rates.
“The Department of Community affairs is looking for resiliency in longterm planning,” Adams said. “These types of inputs need to be looked at in the future.”
Studies show sea levels rose more than 8 inches over the past century and are expected to rise at least another 8 inches by 2100.
Ken Kessler, planning director for Kingsland, said prior trends show growth is coming to Camden County. By 2030, the county’s population is projected to be anywhere from 65,000 to more than 100,000.
If the most optimistic projection is accurate, an additional 20,000 housing units will have to be built in Camden County, Adams said.
“We are heavily influenced by Florida and that region,” he said. “We’re using our land and using it quickly. We need to identify where future growth is going.”
The population increase could lead to the need for additional water and sewer capacity, more fire stations and four-lane roads.
“It can make a big difference,” he said of planning.
City and county officials need to plan on the type of growth they’d like to see.
“If most growth is residential, our taxes will go up,” he said.
Municipalities offering tax incentives to lure new businesses need to ask how long the incentives last.
“There are ways to encourage development. There are ways to discourage development,” he said.
McClenning said more meetings will be scheduled over the next year or so the develop a new plan for the county. Glynn County is also scheduled to develop a new plan starting soon.