BAD AXE – The 1,214 participants in the Huron County Master Plan online survey agreed on pretty much every issue facing the county, except for one.
The Huron County Planning Commission reviewed the survey results Wednesday night, and commissioners will use them to mold the county’s new master plan.
The majority of the respondents said that the county needs to preserve agricultural land.
Also of upmost importance to participants was economic development and job creation.
More shopping options would be nice as well, according to survey results.
But when it came to wind energy development, the verdict was split.
When asked what Huron County should pursue for alternative energy development, 42 percent of respondents agreed that wind is a viable option, and 40 percent disagreed, with 18 percent saying they were neutral.
Wind energy development was second to crime/drug abuse as the top challenges that the county faces.
Participants also stated challenges not listed on the survey, and Commissioner Mary Babcock was surprised about the number of dairy farm complaints.
According to one participant: “Too many large dairy farms – how much cow poop can they get rid of responsibly?”
Regarding fracking, 68 percent of respondents did not support it, whereas 10 percent did, and the rest were neutral.
Most respondents said that they leave the county for medical services and shopping.
Educational and job opportunities are important in order to attract and retain young people, according to the survey.
“I think we have a lot of opportunities people don’t know about.” Babcock said, referring to what is offered by the Huron Intermediate School District and the Huron Area Technical Center.
Participants represented each of Huron County’s municipalities.
County Building and Zoning Director Jeff Smith calculated that 34 percent of the respondents were from county-zoned municipalities.
Although half the county is county zoned, the “heartiest population base” is in self-zoned municipalities, commission Chairman Clark Brock said.
Of those who participated, 793 completed the entire survey, said Alan R. Bean of the Spicer Group, who administered the survey.
Half of the respondents were older than 55.
Bean said a summary of the survey would be composed, as well as land use goals and objectives for the next five to 20 years.
The survey and the previous Master Plan will be considered, along with planning commission input to draft ideas.
There will be a meeting in January to further assess the survey results and new Master Plan.
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