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Process begins for input
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Forsyth County News

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Forsyth County residents can fill out the issues and opportunities worksheet and review Tuesday’s meeting on the comprehensive plan update by going online at

It’s the public’s turn to speak up and help shape Forsyth County’s comprehensive plan update.

County planners started the community input process Tuesday night by gathering residents’ opinions on some issues and opportunities.

The meeting was the first of seven workshops that will go toward forming the community agenda of the county’s comprehensive plan.

This update will provide a policy guide for Forsyth in the years 2012-32.

Vanessa Bernstein, the county’s senior long-range planner, said the first two meetings will identify the concerns and strengths of the community, asking residents “how they see the county now and what they think the issues will be in a 20-year period.”

She acknowledged the material can be dry, but said she hopes participants can think about how they “want Forsyth County to look and be and how you would like it to function.”

About 50 people reviewed topics ranging from population and housing to natural resources and community facilities and services.

They checked off statements about issues and opportunities with which they agreed and offered some of their own on a worksheet that is also available online.

The project management team will summarize the answers before submitting them to the steering committee for review, Bernstein said.

“This is to create an inventory,” she said. “We’re going to see what the community says and we’re going to create a list based on what the majority of the community feels the issues are.”

Longtime county resident Linda Stewart filled out her worksheet Tuesday while discussing the issues with others.

“We just feel like we need to have some input in what the county is doing,” she said, adding that she plans to attend future meetings.

Lisa Gardner came to the workshop with a specific organization’s needs in mind.

The president of Age Well Forsyth, a group that engages and empowers local seniors, said she focused her worksheet on senior housing and facilities.

“Issues for seniors are not that much different than issues for anybody, but sometimes they’re magnified a little bit,” she said.

Bernstein noted at the outset that Forsyth is projected to grow older in the 20-year plan period, with the predominate age group shifting from ages 35-39 to 65 and older.

Several members of Smart Growth Forsyth, which focuses on sustainable, well-planned and environmental growth, also attended the workshop before leaving for their monthly meeting.

Club members said they plan to stay active throughout the process.

The next workshop is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13 at the County Administration Building.

The meeting will focus on the second half of the list of issues and opportunities, including economic development, land use, transportation and intergovernmental coordination.