West Jackson has its overlay districts to encourage new, quality developments — and East Jackson may get its own, too. Jackson County is working on its comprehensive plan — a document that will guide growth for the next 20 years by addressing the county’s population, economic development, land use and housing, among other topics.
“It’s a vision for the future,” said commissioner Bruce Yates. “How we’re going to develop it. How we’re going to build, rebuild. How we’re going to set aside special resources.”
Jackson County has adopted overlay districts along unincorporated areas of Ga. Hwy. 124 and Ga. Hwy. 53, after Braselton approved several overlay districts in its town limits.
As part of the comprehensive plan, the county wants to create overlay districts on the east side.
One of the proposed overlay districts would be located along Ga. Hwy. 98 and U.S. Hwy. 441 in Commerce, while a scenic corridor would be preserved along Ga. Hwy. 334.
Overlay districts are created in addition to existing zoning regulations. Many overlay districts typically call for uniform design and architectural standards for new developments in a specified area.
The special overlay map is one of several new maps in the proposed comprehensive plan, along a number of other documents. Some of those maps and documents are available on the county’s website (www.jacksoncountygov.com).
By the end of October, the county must adopt its new comprehensive plan — following review by state and regional officials.
Meanwhile, the county held its first open house last week at Gum Springs Elementary School to discuss the comprehensive plan. Another open house will be held on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m., at East Jackson Comprehensive High School.
“This is what I consider to be a vital part for the citizens of Jackson County,” Yates said.
Public comments on the comprehensive plan will be taken during the Jackson County Planning Commission’s meeting on Thursday, April 22, at 6 p.m., in the auditorium of the county government complex in Jefferson.
Then, the BOC is expected to take additional comments on Monday, May 17, at 7 p.m., before sending the comprehensive plan to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review.