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Firm seeks input on comprehensive plan

Surveys mailed to county residents and posted online

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

STERLING – Whiteside County is looking for help from residents in putting together its first comprehensive plan.

MSA Professional Services, the consulting firm hired by the county to orchestrate the plan, held its second public meeting Wednesday night, at the Ryberg Auditorium at CGH Medical Center.

The first meeting was held Oct. 10 at the Whiteside County Law Enforcement Center in Morrison.

Jason Valerius, project planner with MSA Professional Services, said they are in their “sponging up” stage, looking for feedback and input from residents.

The plan would set future guidelines for the county in regard to land use, economic development, transportation and housing, among other areas.

Surrounding counties have established comprehensive plans, Valerius said. Whiteside County will also update its zoning code at the same time.

The work is being paid for by a $250,000 Illinois Disaster Recovery Grant, said Steve Haring, a client service manager with MSA Professional Services.

Valerius and Haring discussed county issues and areas of growth with a handful of residents who showed up for the public meeting.

The project is still in the information-gathering phase, Valerius said, and they mailed 6,000 surveys to county residents and also posted the survey at www.WhitesidePlan.com in hopes of getting feedback.

Because the grant paying for the project is coming from funds the state received after the 2008 flooding that resulted from Hurricane Ike, disaster mitigation will be a big part of the comprehensive plan, Valerius said.

There will be public workshops in January, after a draft of the comprehensive plan has been written. The specific topics of the workshops will depend on public feedback from the surveys, Valerius said.

Public review meetings are set for April, before the plan could be presented to the Planning and Zoning Committee. It could potentially be adopted by the Whiteside County Board in June.

How to participate

Go to www.WhitesidePlan.com for more information or to complete the survey.

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