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Letting people have their say

Whiteside officials want to create a 20-year comprehensive plan, and they want the public’s input. People should leap at the chance to help shape the county’s future.

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Financed by a $252,000 state grant, a new Whiteside County Comprehensive Plan is in the works.

The plan, which will go before the County Board for approval in June, is supposed to guide land use and growth for the next 20 years.

And the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee wants to know what the public thinks should be in it.

One way to elicit feedback is through a citizen survey, which will be mailed to 6,000 county residents and is also available at whitesideplan.com on the Internet.

By responding to the survey’s 38 questions, people who live and work in Whiteside County can share information and viewpoints about future land use and development, transportation, economic development, housing, agriculture, and natural hazards.

Another way to get feedback is to schedule public meetings. The steering committee has two such meetings coming up this month.

The first meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the County Board meeting room in the county law enforcement center, 400 N. Cherry St., Morrison.

The second will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Ryberg Auditorium at CGH Medical Center, 100 E. LeFevre Road, Sterling.

Issues and opportunities regarding the county’s future will be discussed at both meetings. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.

Afterward, survey results and public input will be reviewed, and draft policies will be created and reviewed before the comprehensive plan is finalized.

Why should the public be interested in this process?

Here’s what a Frequently Asked Question on whitesideplan.com has to say:

“This is one of the best opportunities available to residents to really influence the future of the county.

“Residents and property owners are typically most interested in the future land use map and policies, which will establish the land uses that will or will not be approved.”

We remember the old saying, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” It’s better to put forethought into development issues now so that the county can control future growth opportunities in an orderly fashion, rather than to be caught unawares.

We encourage the public to leap at the opportunity to help shape the county’s future.

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