In Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission’s five-year plan, broadband, housing and intergenerational community building were three of the six primary goals. Executive Director Mary Ellen Barnes submitted the plan May 4 to county commissioners, who unanimously approved the document.
The plan outlines county strategic planning goals from 2021 to 2026. The three other primary goals submitted were sustainable economic and community development, transportation and environmental sustainability. Barnes told commissioners the plan was created by the six-person board. The plan is designed as a guiding document in creating yearly work plans, formulating budgets and assessing progress. The commission is made of representatives appointed for their community and land use planning knowledge. County Administrator Carrie Kipfer and commission staff also provided input into the plan.
“The strategic plan will meet the needs of Lincoln County and its towns and address their challenges, while employing strategic functions such as convening, communication, and technical assistance,” Barnes said. “What we are working toward is a high-level vision. It will include goals and challenges for the regional planning commission, contain action steps and inform a prioritized work plan and outcomes. It is concise, flexible and adaptable and is not too restrictive.”
The plan includes outcomes for implementing the six priority goals. The commission calls for creating greater understanding of housing needs with an emphasis on affordability and workforce housing. The plan also promotes a need for accessible seasonal, homeless and senior housing.
For broadband, the plan calls for county officials becoming a recognized leader and information source for increasing technological gains. The plan calls for an increased number of towns with active broadband committees or initiatives. Another broadband strategic goal is increased technology education, and digital equity and literacy, especially for those disenfranchised by internet and technology progression.
For sustainable economic and community development, the plans seeks greater employment and volunteer opportunities. As economic growth is promoted, the plan calls for environmental impacts awareness. As the business sector grows, the plan promotes goals for organizations taking economic, natural resources, historical, cultural and societal Lincoln County fabric into consideration.
Transportation planning calls for healthy and safe mobility options. County residents become more aware about transportation options resulting from lifestyle changes including working and learning options. The plan calls for providing proper funding for local transportation needs.
The intergenerational community-building plan calls for making communities interconnected through social and cultural connections, health, wellness and recreation activities, public places, diversified employment and housing, civic engagement, and transportation options.
The environmental sustainability plan calls for improved ability across the county to identify, minimize and mitigate climate change. The plan also calls for towns to address environmental issues.
The regional planning commission will provide three major functions to towns. The functions are technical assistance which provides training, tools, connecting towns with state and federal agencies. The commission will provide “convening” which builds knowledge and partnerships between towns and county officials. The third function is communication performed by providing “outreach, informing, educating, tracking and sharing” information.