MONCKS CORNER — Berkeley County residents who think they know the best ways to manage traffic, schools and sprawl in the county are encouraged to voice their opinions through surveys and in a series of meetings around the county this fall.

The county Planning Commission is starting the review of its comprehensive plan a year early in hopes of addressing the problems being created by growth.

Jeff Tyndall, director of planning and zoning for the county, said this is the chance for residents to be heard.

"It's one of the best ways for someone to get involved," Tyndall said. "Other than having three minutes to speak at County Council, they can come to these meetings and we'll listen to all the concerns citizens have for as long as they need."

The comprehensive plan is a document the county uses to help guide everything from growth and development, traffic, community facilities and use of natural and cultural resources.

"This is a guide for the county for the next five, 10, 20 years," Tyndall said.

The process is being carried out by the Planning Commission, county staff and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments.

Tyndall said resident input helps set the priorities around the county.

Residents can start voicing their opinion by submitting a 30-question survey to Tyndall.

They're strongly encouraged to then attend at least one of the five meetings that will begin around October.

Those information-gathering meetings will take place at College Park Middle School, Cross High School, Keith School Museum, the Pimlico Community Center and Timberland High School. Dates have not yet been set.

The commission will follow those with five more meetings in the spring that will lean more toward disseminating the findings. There will then be a public hearing by July 2009.

Tyndall said it's better for residents to make their voice heard early.

"The more input by the citizens, the better tailored the plan will be to fit the needs of the county."