PT looks to residents for input on land use plan

The Pleasant Township comprehensive plan is nearing its final stages but members of the steering committee are still requesting input from the community.

"This is a plan for the whole township and its residents, not just a committee of 15 people," said Tom Fancher at the July 8 Pleasant Township Board of Trustees meeting. Fancher is the chairman of the land use review committee.

Since 2004 the committee, along with the Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department have been sending out surveys to the township’s residents asking for their ideas on the environment, farmland, transportation and future development.

"There are a wide variety of people and interests in Pleasant Township, but there can’t be separate plans for everybody," said Benjamin Weiner, Planner with the  county planning department at a past meeting. "It’s going to involve a certain give and take.

"We want people to be satisfied or very satisfied with the plan."

Most of the residents were pleased that the comprehensive plan would keep the rural character of the township, as well as focus on the importance farming plays with the township, but there was one issue that people seemed to have been at crossroads with; commercial development.

"One of the things people are still concerned about is commercial zoning," said Fancher. "One resident came to our monthly meeting with a petition that was signed by a number of residents sharing the same concerns about zoning issues."

The biggest problem with residents is the possible commercial development on State Route 665, down to Interstate 71 on State Route 62.

The plan would allow commercial development in areas with access to major roads such as Interstate 71 and Harrisburg Pike. The plan also calls for putting small-scale commercial development along Norton Road, small restaurants or small-scale retail along Alkire Road from Georgesville Road to Gardner Road.

"Basically it is commercial development with conditions, such as restricting uses that require water and sewer services," Weiner stated.

Residents felt that bringing in additional retail stores, office spaces and allowing heavier commercial development in areas would increase the traffic and make the area unattractive.

Fancher said that since the March 27 comprehensive plan meeting, no major changes have been made to the draft, but they want to look into areas of concerns from the residents before finalizing the plan.

Fancher requested that community members come to the steering committee meeting on July 14 to talk about their concerns regarding zoning and development, or to give their ideas for the future of the township.

"We would be thrilled to have people come," he said. "It’s always been our goal to get more input."

According to Fancher, the committee is also looking into a date to hold another public meeting, but that date has yet to be determined.

The steering committee meeting on July 14, will take place at 7 p.m. at the Pleasant Township Fire Department, located at 5373 Norton Road in Grove City.

Speed concerns

At the June 24 trustees meeting, a request for watch for children signs and a plea to lower the speed limits of residential roads were discussed and the case was no different at the July 8 meeting.

Pleasant Township resident Sterling Moore asked the board for a no engine brake sign for a noisy semi-truck that drives through the area, and a reduction for the speed limit on Boyd Road.

"We asked the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for both a speed reduction and a no engine break sign before and they turned each of them down," said Chairman Keith Goldhardt.

Goldhardt is a part of the Ohio Township Association, which introduced House Bill 102 into legislation. The bill would permit townships to set their own speed limits on all township roads under their jurisdiction. Currently, ODOT sets the speed limits for all highways and roads, including townships roads, rural and otherwise.

"It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that someone in Delaware, Ohio is telling us what our speed limits can be," Goldhardt said.

The chairman added he would go through the legal channels to try to get a no engine brake sign to put in place for the area, and if that happens, it could take upwards from 10 days to two weeks to be put up.

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