Decatur prepares to update its Comprehensive PlanDecatur City Hall.
Decatur has almost as many plans as it has festivals.
The latter is more fun. The former far more important.
On Monday, Feb. 1, the City Commission will discuss its 10 year update to its Comprehensive Plan, not to be confused with its Strategic Plan, or its citywide Athletic Facility Master Plan, or its Preservation Corridor Master Plan, or its Transportation Plan.
“We are always working on plans,” City Manager Peggy Merriss said. “The Comprehensive Plan is kind of for us the minimum of what you would do. Comp plans aren’t strategic plans, but every strategic plan includes a piece that is a Comprehensive Plan.”
Commissioners will also consider authorizing the update of the plan, which is required by state law. The two plans most often cited by city officials are the Strategic Plan and the Comprehensive Plan. So what’s the difference between the two?
“It’s not a dumb question,” Merriss said. “Basically in Georgia a Comprehensive Plan is a plan about the physical infrastructure of the city, as compared to a Strategic Plan which is like a business plan for the city. A Comprehensive Plan is a piece of a Strategic Plan, but Georgia law requires that every city has [a Comprehensive Plan].”
The Comprehensive Plan would focus on things like zoning and land use.
Merriss described it as, “Here’s where we think the land use might change in the next 10 years, or here are the big developments we think might happen, or it could be a new road system or a new transit system. It’s really dealing with the physical placement of development and infrastructure.”
Mayor Patti Garrett mentioned the plan update during her recent State of the City speech.
“We’ll soon begin work on our Comprehensive Plan, which we complete every 10 years and it’s the off five years from our Strategic Plan,” Garrett said. “We’ll be working with the Atlanta Regional Commission and want you to participate. Wouldn’t it be great to have many of you participate in that comprehensive planning effort? There will be a series of public input sessions and our first public hearing will be held at our City Commission meeting on Feb. 1. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this plan and I invite you to invest in our future and participate.”
The Feb. 1 City Commission meeting begins with a work session on the Comprehensive Plan at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.