Public input is wanted from Benton residents for the completion of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan to map out the future of the City of Benton. Tad Long and Bobbie Bryant with the Kentucky League of Cities Community Development Services began the task of updating the city’s plan in July.

A land use plan is required every five years under Kentucky Revised Statutes 100 and provides a look into the future for the city. KRS 100 has four requirements, plus additional recommendations to strengthen the plan, according to Long.

The first requirement calls for the preparation and adoption of a statement of goals and objectives to act as a guide in preparing and implementing the elements of the plan. Unless the statement has not changed from the previous plan, it must be presented for adoption to each legislative body in the region.

The second requirement is for a future land use map to be adopted. These land uses can cover public and private properties, residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and recreational uses.

The third element regards transportation. This element will show the most desirable, appropriate, economic and feasible pattern for transportation channels and routes.

The final requirement is to show community facilities and services such as parks, educational facilities, libraries, churches, hospitals, welfare facilities, utilities, fire and police stations, and other public offices.

Additional elements to help strengthen the plan are community demographics, economic development in the area, safety information, housing, environment and natural resources and historic preservation.

Since July, in addition to drafting the goals and objectives and updating demographics, Long and Bryant have also held three focus group meetings, conducted one-on-one interviews an began writing a narrative based upon data collected from research and site visits.

An in-person public meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 13, at City Hall for citizens to voice their input. Preregistration is required to maintain social distancing practices. Masks are also required. A Zoom meeting will also be held on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. To register for either meeting, contact Bethany Cooper by email at bcooper@cityof benton.org.

If you cannot attend the public meetings, you may email your confidential responses to the questions below to the KLC facilitators, Tad Long and Bobbie Bryant at tlong@klc.org or bbryant@klc.org. Responses should be submitted no later than Oct. 23.

1. What do you like about living in the City of Benton?

2. What do you dislike about the City of Benton?

3. What could Benton do to provide more opportunities for its young people to stay in or return to the community?

4. What kinds of businesses or jobs does Benton need?

5. Are there any problem areas that need to improve?

6. In your opinion, what has stopped the city from addressing the above answers?

7. What has been the biggest game changer in past 10 years?

8. What were the greatest challenges the community has faced in the past 10 years?

9. What do you think will be the game changers for the next ten years?

10. What should the community be doing to be prepared or best adjust to these changes?

The plan will be drafted through the winter and then presented to the city and county legislative bodies in Marshall County. Those bodies will have 90 days to adopt or reject it. If no action is taken, the updated plan is automatically considered approved.