I encourage you to join me in celebrating Community Planning Month in October as we recognize the vital role county planning plays in helping build safe, healthy and vibrant counties across the nation.
County planning spans a variety of sizes and scopes in government administration across the country. County planners are an integral part of managing growth, conserving rural heritage, and protecting the natural environment from development impacts.
In my home county of Minnehaha County, S.D., the county planning department works every day to ensure that flooding doesn’t occur in low-lying areas through administration of the Floodplain Management Ordinance that sets restrictions on what landowners can do with their properties located in the designated floodplain area.
The planning staff is also working with landowners on code enforcement cases that are driven by complaint basis to make sure that minimum property maintenance standards can be met by rural residents.
Since agricultural development is a vital economic industry to the state of South Dakota and Minnehaha County in particular, staff are responsible for making recommendations on livestock operations to the planning commission while balancing the often-competing interests of landowners spread throughout the rural area.
This can be a challenging endeavor if not dealt with in a proactive manner with an up-to-date set of concentrated animal feeding operation regulations in the zoning ordinance to ensure that all people feel their voices have been heard in the planning process. This is a critical component of good planning practice in county government of all shapes, sizes, and forms.
The National Association of County Planners (NACP) works to strengthen the relationship between county planners, elected officials and other related county personnel while working closely with other planning organizations such as the County Planning Division of the American Planning Association.
An upcoming example is a NACo webinar on Wednesday Oct. 31, to recognize the importance of county planning in addressing affordable housing. Visit naco.org/webinars to learn more and register.
NACP, an affiliate of NACo, is committed to providing you with a variety of forums for continued professional development through disseminating information and resources of value to the general membership as well as provide a conduit for public input on NACo policies that address county planning issues. We have members across the country who are actively involved in county planning and raising awareness on land use issues.