By Linda Dillman
A steering committee to help guide a new comprehensive plan for the future development of Canal Winchester drew more than two-dozen applicants to serve as at large members, in addition to individuals already volunteering on behalf of organizations and business interests.
While 32 applications were received, three were removed because they either did not live within the city limits or were appointed as a representative of a group.
The committee is comprised of a council representative, the mayor or his appointee, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, a member of the Landmarks Commission, a CWICC trustee, a member of the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society and a representative of the Downtown Business Association.
In addition, there are individuals representing the Joint Recreation District; Chamber of Commerce; Ashbrook, Canal Cove, Charleston Lakes and Villages of Westchester Homeowner Associations; Olde Town area; a Canal Winchester area in Fairfield County and four at large members.
Names of interested applicants became part of a pool, with city Law Director Thaddeus Boggs selecting four at large individuals at random—Ann Bennett, Richard Brown, Laura Taylor and Michael Vasko during the May 16 Canal Winchester City Council meeting. Boggs also drew the names of two alternates—Kay Sargeant and Rick Moore.
“The timeline for the steering committee to start meeting with the consulting firm McKenna is still being finalized,” said Planning and Zoning Administrator Andrew Moore. “It is anticipated there will be a project kickoff in the month of June. McKenna has an initial timeline in their scope of 10 months to complete the comprehensive plan. The cost agreed upon for McKenna to perform the scope of services is a lump sum of $209,000.”
The last comprehensive plan was adopted in 1999. There was an attempt to update that plan starting in 2005. However, the council chose not to do so in 2007.
According to Development Director Lucas Haire, many of the residential and commercial areas approved more than 20 years ago are now nearing final build-out and the city is seeing a growing interest in new annexations and rezoning requests.
Canal Winchester’s plan update is a long- range tool intended to direct the growth and physical development of the community for 10 to 20 years. It is a document for managing physical growth because it can consolidate and coordinate physical planning needs, goals and policies, and any separate community studies that address various aspects of physical development in the city.
“The comprehensive plan will determine a vision for the community based on core values that will be determined through the planning process,” continued Moore.
The plan will address the desired balance of land uses, location, character, interconnection all while looking at the socioeconomic environment and in-depth market analysis. That will result in an outline for development and land use patterns and creating an economic strategy to accomplish the goals set in the plan.
As described in an August 2021 presentation, the plan presents a vision for the future, with long range targets and objectives for all activities impacting local government. It provides guidance on how to make decisions on public and private land development proposals, expenditure of public funds, availability of financial policy—tax incentives or impact fees—to achieve desired outcomes, transportation and utilities improvements and other issues of local concern.
According to city officuials, the plan affords the opportunity for Canal Winchester to be proactive and have greater control over its destiny, such as guidance for the orderly growth; development and physical appearance of the community; future decision-making guidance; and builds consensus and commitment from elected and appointed officials, residents, staff, and other interested stakeholders.
Typical components of a comprehensive plan include existing conditions and demographics, a community vision, future land use, a thoroughfare plan, parks and open spaces, a utility master plan, economic development plan and a pathway for implementation and strategies.