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Jenkinsburg updates comprehensive plan

By Beverly Harris-Walker

bwalker@myjpa.com

The Jenkinsburg City Council has voted to send a partial update of the city's Comprehensive Plan to the Three Rivers Regional Commission, some three months after it was originally due.

According to Jeannie Brantley, the planning director for the commission, and the plan reviewed and approved by the council for submittal on May 24, the Partial Plan Update should have been submitted to the Three Rivers Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs by Feb. 28 in order for the city to retain its Qualified Local Government status.

Brantley said not updating the plan could disqualify the city from receiving a number of grants.

According to the Department of Community Affairs, non-Qualified Local Governments are disqualified from more than a dozen different grant and loan programs operated by DCA, and several run by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority and Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The DCA requires local governments to submit a partial update to their comprehensive plans every five years, and full updates every 10 years.

City officials said Jenkinsburg began working on the update before the deadline but were unable to complete the process because of a staffing change at Three Rivers.

"Unfortunately, we had a person terminated ... for reasons unrelated to this issue, and I was out on medical leave, so the ball got dropped for the City of Jenkinsburg," said Brantley. "We are partly to blame that the submission of their plan has been delayed."

Jenkinsburg City Councilman Eddie Ford said Brantley worked closely with the city to compile the update based on information provided by the city.

The city's Comprehensive Plan covers the years 2005 to 2025. Such plans typically provide a snapshot of communities, attempt to assess their needs and discuss plans to meet those needs in the future.

The Partial Plan Update identifies areas of the city that leaders feel require special attention due to the presence of cultural resources. The old Jenkinsburg Post Office, Jenkinsburg Methodist Church, and a historic home located on Cherry Street are some of the locations newly identified in the plan as historically significant.

The former Westbury Nursing Home, on Kudzu Street, has also been identified in the plan as a large abandoned structure or site that may be environmentally contaminated.

Ford said city officials would like to demolish the building there and develop a small park. "It could be a really nice place if we could get rid of that building," he said.

The Partial Plan Update estimates that as much as $350,000 would be needed to tear down the building and develop a park. Ford said city officials may look to the next Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for those funds.

The Partial Plan Update also discusses the recently completed renovations to City Hall, which was a project identified in the 2005 plan, Ford said. He said the update also discusses the city's efforts to renovate the Jenkinsburg Garden Club building.

There were no significant changes in the areas of population, housing, education, transportation, or land use, as part of the Partial Plan Update.

Brantley estimated that Three Rivers could approve the update by late July or early August. Once Three Rivers signs off on the plan, the Jenkinsburg City Council could formally adopt it at its next council meeting.

Citizens can view a copy of the Comprehensive Plan, as well as the Partial Plan Update, at City Hall.

Michael Davis contributed to this article.