Washington County Considers Update To Comprehensive Plan

The Washington County Planning Commission, on behalf of the Washington County Board, has undertaken the process of updating the County’s Comprehensive Plan adopted in Spring of 2000. Linda Tragesser, Community and Regional Planner with the Southwestern Illinois Metropolitan and Regional Planning Commission, has been advising County Planning Commission and facilitating the planning process for the Comprehensive Plan 2016 Update. “The Comprehensive Plan is an advisory document adopted by the County, as opposed to a regulatory document or ordinance, that is intended to express the will of the public in guiding growth and development within the County over a planning horizon of twenty years.” advises Ms. Tragesser. “Even with the twenty-year planning horizon, it is advisable to update the Plan every ten to fifteen years.

The Washington County Planning Commission, chaired by Gerald Brockmeier, has primary responsibility for Comprehensive Plan and keeping it up to date. Many changes have occurred within the County since the 2000 Plan was adopted, such as the development of the Prairie State Energy Campus, and the abandonment of the Union Pacific rail line between Nashville and Oakdale, and it was necessary to complete the update. A steering committee appointed by the County Board has worked for the last eighteen months going over the elements of the 2000 plan, reviewing growth and development issues for the county, and recommending the Goals and Objectives of the 2016 update. The steering committee oversaw a public opinion survey completed over a 6 month period between August, 2014 and February 2015 and was carried out via the website service, “Survey Monkey”. Hard copies of the survey were available through the County Clerk’s office and the County Zoning Administrator’s office during the survey period. The updated plan contains the survey results and incorporates data derived from the survey in the plan’s recommendation. The plan also includes a proposed 2036 Land Management Plan Map that depicts the recommendations of the committee for future land use and transportation issues within the County.

The Comprehensive Plan 2016 update, currently in draft form, features the following Vision Statement for the County:

Washington County 2036 Vision Statement

Washington County enjoys a diverse, stable economy while embracing and preserving our rich agricultural heritage. Agriculture is our primary industry, but we accommodate growth by conscientiously managing the way new development should occur while preserving our rich farmland, natural resources and woodlands; carefully exploiting our important energy reserves; and maintaining a diverse approach to create a range of employment opportunities and available housing. We value our youth, honor our seniors, and support our families with a desire for all to thrive in a safe, pristine environment as one of the premier rural counties in Illinois.

It further proposes goals and makes recommendations on on nine different planning elements such as Agriculture Preservation, Commerce and Industry, Housing, Economic Development and Historic Preservation.

Copies of the draft plan are available for the public to review prior to the hearing at the following websites:

  Washington County Website: washingtonco.illinois.gov/comprehensive-planning/

The Nashville News Website: www.scribd.com/document/318124439/2016-Washington-County-Comprehensive-Plan-DRAFT

Village of Okawville: http://okawville.net/washington_county_plan_34.html

Nashville Chamber of Commerce: www.nashvilleilchamber.com/

A printed copy of the Comprehensive Plan 2016 Update is available for viewing at the office of Washington County Clerk and Recorder, 101 E St. Louis St., 1st floor, Nashville, Illinois.

The Washington County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at the Washington County Courthouse in the County Board Room on Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 8 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to review the draft plan and receive oral or written public comment. Following the hearing the record will remain open for a 30-day public comment period.

Questions should be directed to Linda Tragesser, Southwestern Illinois Metropolitan and Regional Planning Commission, 2511 Vandalia Collinsville IL 62234 (phone) (618) 344-4250 ext. 110, (fax) (618) 344-4253 (email) [email protected]