As the county continues to develop a comprehensive plan, the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners approved moving forward with an area plan market study for the Hickory Flat area.

At the most recent meeting of the board of commissioners, a professional services agreement with the Bleakly Advisory Group for the Hickory Flat Area Plan Market Study was approved, for the amount of $19,750. This study, according to county officials, will be conducted in the same manner as the recently-concluded Southwest Cherokee Area Plan study.

Jeff Watkins, the county director of planning and zoning, said the idea for this study to be conducted and lead to the creation of a plan came when the county began putting together its comprehensive plan in 2018.

“During the comprehensive plan process, we held community workshops in six target areas around the county, including southwest Cherokee, Hickory Flat, Highway 20 East, the airport area, Ball Ground and Waleska,” Watkins said. “Based on the community feedback, we prioritized the southwest Cherokee and Hickory Flat plans to be our first projects as shown in the Short Term Work Plan.”

Now that the board of commissioners has approved moving forward with the Hickory Flat study, Watkins said the Bleakly Advisory Group will begin collecting all of the necessary data and conduct an analysis of what comes in. At the same time, the county is gearing up for a series of community engagement meetings to be held in the spring of 2020.

Although a completed plan will not be ready until next year, Watkins said he and other county officials believe the Hickory Flat Area Plan Market Study will take on an overall format nearly identical to what was seen with the Southwest Cherokee Area Plan developed earlier this year.

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