Prairie Township approves Big Darby Accord project
Following suit with the Franklin County commissioners and Columbus City Council, the Prairie Township trustees approved the next step in the Big Darby Accord project.
At their April 22 meeting, the trustees unanimously voted to participate in the Town Center Master Plan along with the city, county, and Brown Township, all of whom are located within the county portion of the Big and Little Darby Creeks Watershed. The trustees also gave their approval for the project's revised revenue program during the meeting.
The Big Darby Accord project's overall goal is to protect the watershed while permitting balanced and planned development that would not hinder its environment.
According to Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker, the county and city also passed legislation this month that would provide sewer and water without annexation for development related to the Big Darby Accord in Prairie Township. Eventually, Hatmaker said, existing properties in the Big Darby area may be tapped into the sewer and water systems through the city, also without annexation.
Through the project, the local government bodies project Prairie Township to grow by 5,000 homes in the next decade in the Big Darby area. In the Alkire Road and Galloway Road areas alone, about 1,000 homes are also expected to be constructed over that period of time.
The intention of the Town Center is to create a highly desirable, diverse area that includes all aspects of urban living, such as residential, retail, office and public uses as well as parks and open spaces. The agreement the township entered into on April 22, means it will share costs of hiring consultant Urban Design Associates, who will design a development plan for the Town Center.
According to Hatmaker, the township will pay $85,000 over the next two years for its part in the agreement. Brown Township will also pay as much, the city will pay $50,000 and the county $280,000. Prairie Township's first year's payment has already been allocated, Hatmaker added.
The revenue program trustees passed at the same meeting was just a revised program the trustees passed in December 2008, Hatmaker said. Through the revenue program, all involved jurisdictions will monitor how revenue is raised. The township's part in the revenue program is to ensure it is providing services without an additional burden on residents and to implement the purpose of the Big Darby Accord project, added Hatmaker.
Trustees were pleased with the cooperation of all jurisdictions in the project thus far.
"This is the first signed piece in over 50 years that unincorporated Prairie Township will get new housing the way we want it," said Trustee Stephen Kennedy. "It's a sign of people working together. It is unheard of to get this cooperation out of all entities together."
Though the economy isn't the best for looking ahead to development in the township, said Trustee Nicole Schlosser, it's important to plan for the best.
"We have to poise ourselves for growth," she said. "We've been in this process for awhile but this will help poise us for the right type of growth."
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