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Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Balm Community Plan up for review by state

BALM - Residents are one step closer to seeing adoption of a long-range plan for their community. At a March 21 public hearing, Hillsborough County commissioners voted 6-0 — Commissioner Mark Sharpe did not attend — to send the latest version of Balm’s community plan to the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity. It is the 22nd form of the plan that residents and county officials have come up with since Hillsborough’s City-County Planning Commission launched the effort in January 2011. “We hosted 20 workshops and two open houses,” said Lisa Silva, principal planner for the county’s planning commission. “We notified every single property owner of every open house, and the community took on the task of posting the bright green signs for every single one of the workshops as well.”
The community plan’s priority is preserving and protecting the rural lifestyle and agrarian roots of Balm, which is in southeastern Hillsborough. Other goals include the support and preservation of open spaces available to the public, the improvement of code and law enforcement to prevent crime and other violations, and the maintenance of existing and new infrastructure as well as the establishment of pathway connections. “They recognize they’re a rural area, so that will take place at a different level than in the urban service area,” Silva said. Now that the plan has been sent to the state agency for review, the final step will come during a public hearing scheduled for May 16 when county commissioners vote on its adoption. “The planning commission did recommend and find this consistent with the Future Land Use Comprehensive Plan,” Silva said, “and they do recommend its approval.”

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