By Linda Dillman
A guideline created more than two decades ago to shepherd growth in Canal Winchester is getting an update as the city starts to create a new Comprehensive Plan.
Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire said the city decided to approach the topic of the plan based on continued growth pressures. The last plan was adopted in 1999. While there was an attempt to update that plan in 2005, the council chose not to do so in 2007.
“Many of the residential and commercial areas approved more than 20 years ago are now nearing final build-out and the city is seeing interest in new annexations and rezoning requests,” said Haire. “Having an up-to-date comprehensive plan in place with help guide the planning and zoning commission and city council as they evaluate the future development of our community.”
A request for proposal for the comprehensive plan was issued by the city with responses due Jan. 3. A committee comprised of residents, council members, and city employees was assembled to evaluate the proposals and recommend a consultant.
While establishing a vision for the community based on core values determined through the planning process, the plan addresses the balance of land use with location, design character, and density in undeveloped and potential re-development areas.
The plan also considers the interconnection among land uses, the build environment, socioeconomic environment, and the natural environment. This comprehensive plan will then be used to guide elected officials’ decisions for the next 10 to 20 years.
Elements of the plan as outlined by the city include citizen participation, demographics and socioeconomics and their impact, existing land use within the city, and surrounding communities and community character.
Housing and neighborhood elements provide an opportunity to set policy direction related to the range of housing products offered in Canal Winchester. Transportation will be evaluated as well and build upon the city’s transportation plan.
The plan will also integrate existing parks and open spaces, trail connectivity, accessibility along with natural areas and open spaces, and address governmental services and infrastructure.
As written in the request for proposal, “The city considers citizen input essential. The Comprehensive Plan process shall be structured to maximize citizen involvement and participation. Participation of citizens, developers, landowners, business owners, appointed and elected officials, and other stakeholders throughout the community is paramount to success of the Comprehensive Plan. Community well-being shall be incorporated into all aspects of the plan; how will recommendations enhance the well-being of our community?”
According to Haire, there will be in-person meetings, surveys, a comprehensive plan specific website, and other tools that will allow the community to engage and provide input into the planning process.
“I would anticipate the city entering into a contract after city council approval in late March,” said Haire. “The city has budgeted $225,000 for the project in 2022.”
Consultant proposals will determine a timeline.