Growth continues, planning is important

By Chuck Kajer

Two stories in this week’s newspaper discuss growth in the New Prague area and how the city is preparing for the future as it meets the challenges of that growth.

The first is a report on the workshop held by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission last week. The commission had originally planned to submit a proposed Comprehensive Plan Update for the city council to review and approve by early February. But after a public hearing earlier this month, the commission chose instead to listen to comments made at the hearing and make some adjustments to the plan.

The commission’s delay was both prudent and necessary. The comprehensive plan serves as a guideline for future growth in the city, and it is important to get it right. As more and more people continue to head south and settle in New Prague and the surrounding area, proper planning will be the key to making sure the growth follows a pattern that will keep the city running smoothly.

The commission was scheduled to further discuss the Comprehensive Plan at its January 26 meeting, then will present the revised plan to the public at a continuation of the public hearing, which will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, at the New Prague City Hall.

The second article deals directly with the growth in the city. New Prague saw a total of 375 building permits issued during 2004, with projects valued at $32 million. While this number is down from the 477 permits issued in 2003, it is still a significant number and signals continued growth for the city for years to come. The most significant of these figures is the 115 new single family homes for which permits were issued during the past year. Over the past five years, more than 400 permits were issued for single family homes.

These 400 homes hold people who have or will become part of this community, contributing their talents, paying their taxes, sending their kids to school, and using a variety of city services. The comprehensive plan will play a key role in determining whether the growth in the community is haphazard or well thought out.

A good plan will help the city continue to grow and thrive, well into the future.

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