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Southern GA RC- Greater Lowndes County MPO Coordinated Community Vision

This regional success story addresses many of the guiding principles set forth in the 2013 regional plan from the Southern Regional Commission. Of particular interest are policies such as “Encourage the coordination of t transportation network improvement s and land use planning” as a Transportation principle. A principle stated in the Intergovernmental Coordination section states “Promote and encourage cooperation and collaboration between jurisdictions in developing solutions for shared regional issues.” This excellent example of coordinated does just that- provides a common vision for all local governments involved in the Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Commission for all things transportation related.

During the most recent update of the Valdosta-Lowndes MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan, it came to the attention of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission, which provides the staff to the MPO, that several other community-wide planning efforts would be underway during the same time period (2013 – 2016), including over 20 strategic and comprehensive plans guiding the growth and development of local governments, organizations and agencies. While these local plans covered vastly different subject material, there was a great deal of overlap in their goals, objectives, and policies. However, no coordination or consistency had been put into the different plans, even though there were common themes and categories within them all. In an excellent example of true coordinated planning, the Regional Commission and MPO staff collaborated with local officials of Berrien County, Lanier County, Brooks County, Lowndes County, and the Cities of Valdosta, Remerton, Lake Park, Dasher, Hahira to develop a single common vision which could be utilized to unite all local planning efforts.

The result—known as the Greater Lowndes County Common Community Vision—involved a thorough and comprehensive review, analysis, and public outreach effort to ensure a current, comprehensive, and coordinated vision and set of goals. The Common Community Vision contains 18 goals for “Greater Lowndes County,” relating to many diverse areas such as economic development, infrastructure, education, housing, community health, land use, and quality of life.

Moving forward under these goals, all organizations work together toward the improvement of the community. These common goals also fulfill the requirements of the Georgia DCA Rules for Comprehensive Planning and the eight Emphasis Areas required for local Long Range Transportation Plans by the Federal Highway Administration. The one-year Report of Accomplishments documents efforts already underway to meet the community’s shared goals and vision. At least one action, and in most cases multiple actions, have already taken in order to further each of the 18 goals.

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