'Dig Once' brings new language to Walton Land Development Code

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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Walton is one step closer to having internet services throughout the entire county.

Tuesday, Walton County Commissioners approved a new 'dig once' policy, meaning when a new road is built or an old one is dug up for repairs, they will be required to lay utility piping infrastructure in anticipation for future developments.

"I think this would be a good thing to do at the time after tearing up dirt and digging ditches, to go ahead and drop an extra set of piping in there so that won't have to be done at a later date. We can get it done," said Walton County Commissioner Bill Chapman.

"This is so important to make our county special," said Walton County Commissioner Melanie Nipper. "It's for developers, it's for any time the ditch-witch comes out of the barn, a pipe goes in and we connect all that will connect together,"

Walton County Special Projects Manager, Rick Wilson said by doing this the first time it would come out to about one percent of added costs.

"Anytime we dig up a road, do any sort of ditch work or trench work, to put this conduit on our roads as well so it will entice these providers to move in and what studies have shown is a failure to implement something like dig once means more construction, more disruption," said Wilson.

Wilson said he believes if the county doesn't do this, it could make the providers less willing to come into the area because of their return on investments.

The board heard from members of the public both for and against adding this language to the land development code.

At the end of the discussion, commissioners believe it is the right move for economic growth in the community.