Linn County’s process of updating its Rural Land Use Plan, dubbed “A Smarter Course,” is entering into a new round of online public input gathering. In this latest round, Linn County residents are being asked to write short guiding principles on the topics of resource protection, sustainable development, livable communities, alternative and renewable energy, hazard mitigation, economic development and employment opportunities, and transportation. To participate, residents may visit the Linn County web site at and click on the “Round 2 – Rural Land Use Plan Survey” link on the home page under the “Living & Working” section of “Hot Topics.” Input will be accepted online through Jan. 20. The plan update is being managed by the staff of the Linn County Planning & Development Department. “Guiding principles are foundational concepts that will guide decisions about strategies and implementation actions in the updated Rural Land Use Plan” said Les Beck, Linn County’s planning and development director, in a press release. “They will apply to many decisions, and so it is extremely important that the citizens of Linn County give us their opinions and ideas on these guiding principles.” A steering committee of local residents representing various stakeholder groups has been formed and several working groups will develop plan elements. The Rural Land Use Plan update is expected to be complete in early 2013. Linn County received a grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to perform the Rural Land Use Plan update, which will bring its plan more fully into compliance with the recently adopted Iowa Smart Planning Principles. Les Beck, Planning and Development Director, co-chairs the Iowa Smart Planning Task Force.