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Get to know … Planning and Economic Development

To understand Polk County’s Planning and Economic Development department, you must understand that there are two pieces to the puzzle.

One area, Planning, works with citizens, builders, developers, engineers, surveyors, consultants, municipalities, state agencies, and internal departments. According to Cathy Ruth, the Planning and Economic Development Director, “we are guided by a Comprehensive Plan for the county, which will be updated in the next few years, as well as land use ordinances. The ordinances are administered by the Planning team. They are updated with the Planning Board’s recommendation, and approval from the Board of Commissioners. If you’re looking for information on flood, building, watershed, tiny homes, vacation rentals, subdividing property, starting or expanding a business, or any issue with land use, give us a call.”

From an Economic Development perspective, the department strives to assist existing and future businesses. “We value community, history, heritage, and hospitality,” Ruth said. “We partner with North Carolina Department of Commerce and community colleges to assist with recruitment and training, as well as grant opportunities. We are available to meet with and talk about existing businesses and new business ideas, and share the resources available.”

Here’s some more information about Polk County’s Planning and Economic Development department:

Statement of Purpose

For Planning: To put into practice those land uses that will best meet the needs of the people while safeguarding resources for the future, as well as recognizing the evolution of the community and preserving the rural character while protecting the health, safety and welfare of Polk County citizens.

For Development: To nurture the economy of Polk County while preserving a desirable, rural quality of life.

Specific Departmental Goals

  • Planning Administrator trained/classes/certifications
  • Cross-train Planning Administrator with Building Inspections
  • Review and update ordinances
  • Continue education for recertification and new classes/certifications
  • GIS/Zoning maps updated
  • Volunteer appreciation focus

Planning/Economic Development Director: Cathy Ruth

Planning Administrator: Hannah Lynch

Development Assistant: Chelsea Allen

Location information: 35 Walker Street in Columbus

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Phone number: 828-894-2732

Contact email: planning@polknc.org



Looking for information about Polk County government? Visit the county’s official web site