The Montgomery County Planning and Zoning Board held its second and final open group meeting on Aug. 10 at Montgomery County Middle School to revisit its master plan and master map and work on a renewable energy solar overlay district.
During the one-hour meeting, Planning and Zoning Administrator Donna Viehmann and board members encouraged residents to fill out an online survey (www.surveymonkey.com/r/DWWQPND) to express their opinions on the master plan, master map and the solar overlay district as well as what the county needs to improve on.
The Planning and Zoning Board will make an appearance at the Old Threshers Show on Aug. 20-22 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds to promote the surveys.
“After we find out for sure what the surveys say, my thoughts will be, ‘This is what we’re proposing,’ ” Viehmann said. “Suppose that we had 500 surveys come back that said we want broadband and we want it now, so we have to figure out a way to get it done. This is how we’re going to propose that it will get done. Does that mean that changes the master plan? Probably not. Will it change the master map any? Probably not.”
The survey will close on Aug. 22. Results of the surveys will be revealed in six different places in late September. They are Valentine’s Hall in Starkenburg (Sept. 21), Wellsville City Hall (Sept. 22), Jonesburg Community Building (Sept. 23), MCMS (Sept. 27), Middletown Country Store (Sept. 28) and Bellflower City Hall (Sept. 29).
“I do recommend the family members to please find more people to complete the surveys online,” said Krishna Kumapareddy, a planner for the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission. “We need people of all age groups to complete the surveys.”
Viehmann said she and BRPC started working on the master plan over the spring. It provides goals that deal with the future growth and development of Montgomery County.
The master plan will be in effect on Jan. 1. The Planning and Zoning Board will start compiling results and writing the draft report in October and will hold a public meeting in November.
“It normally takes about two years to get these done and the county commissioners requested that we have them done in six months,” Viehmann said. “It’s a pretty quick process.”
The master zoning map shows the zoning districts in the unincorporated areas in the county. The proposed solar overlay would require a minimum of 50 contiguous acres to be permitted in an agricultural zoned district.
The Planning and Zoning Board had its first open group meeting on July 13 at MCMS. The following week, the group handed out surveys at the Montgomery County Fair.
“Between the first meeting that we had here on July 13 and the fair, we received about 130 surveys,” Viehmann said. “It was well worth my time to be out there at the fair because I think the majority of the responses we got was on that week.”
Viehmann said the last time the master plan was revisited was in 2010. That year, broadband availability was the major concern for county residents.
“We revisited it, but we didn’t change anything because there were only five things out there that folks said they really wanted to change,” the administrator said. “Those five things meet everything that was in the master plan at that time. So there was no need to change anything major. That could be the same way now. We could get these surveys back and they would say to continue on. We don’t want any major changes. If that’s the case, we’ll continue on with the master plan that was written in 1995.”