Monday, May 29, 2023

Commissioners approves Johnson County Comprehensive Plan

The Johnson County Comprehensive Plan resolution was passed in a regularly scheduled commissioners meeting Monday and will provide a guideline for the county to seek both financial and infrastructural improvements to the region.

Johnson County initiated a study in 2008 looking to fulfill an obligation to the Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone (SIDEZ) program, which called for communities to create a plan to include strategic vision for change, economic opportunity, sustainable community development and community-based partnerships. The plan was actualized in 2009 and completed in late 2010 and put together in 2011.

The document is some 80 pages that summarize Johnson County from its history to its demographics. The study includes such factors as wind, forest, geology, soil and water resources as examples of ways to seek improvements in the economic outlook of the county. In the area of wind, the study determined that the potential for large wind farms is limited, whereas in natural amenities such as lakes, relatively mild winters, topography and recreational areas the study determined the county has good potential to develop as a retirement destination.

By passing a resolution to adopt the Comprehensive Plan, the commissioners did not obligate the county to actually use or act on any part of the study, but rather set forth a commitment to use the study to seek out improvements. The Planning Commission set out to establish goals and objectives based on their importance and their ability to be implemented, according to the documents presented to the commissioners Monday. A sophisticated scoring system was created to help Commission members focus on those objectives that they felt would be important for future policy makers to implement while still prioritizing them by importance.

Of 117 different objectives the Planning Commission looked at, Allow land owners to apply for permits to establish subdivisions in the County and to place restrictions (above those of the county) on construction and land uses within their subdivision, ranked first in both importance and implementation ability. The Planning Commission narrowed the scope of objectives to only include the top 24 emphasizing that it is the combined score of what is most desired to have combined with what is most likely obtainable.

The document concludes that the key to its success is its use and encourages the dissemination of the comprehensive plan to the public and to use it in conjunction with other tools including the County Plan Commission, Subdivision Ordinances and Capital Improvement Plan.
The Vienna Times and Goreville Gazette will present a deeper look at the complete document in a future article.

Also in the commissioners meeting the Feb. 27 minutes were approved, the Highway and County bills were approved for $30,726.62 and $70,312.89 respectively. The next meeting is scheduled for March 26 to begin at 3:30 p.m.