Pleasant Township and Franklin County are working on a draft plan for land use and they are looking for public input.
Ben Weiner of the Franklin County Development Department led a public input session on Oct. 22 at Pleasant View Middle School. He said his department has been working with the township’s steering committee. Together, they have come up with a land use plan outline.
The comprehensive plan started in late 2004 when the county sent out a survey to Pleasant Township residents asking what kind of development they would like to see in the future. Weiner said approximately 47 percent of residents responded. The plan addresses commercial development, farmland, environment, residential development, transportation and communication.
The comprehensive plan would allow commercial development in appropriate areas.
"Many residents are concerned about commercial development in residential areas," said Weiner. "There is not pressure to have commercial development in an area where people live."
The plan would allow commercial development in areas with access to major roads such as Interstate 71 and Harrisburg Pike. This land would permit a wide variety of businesses.
At Pleasant Corners, the county and steering committee would like to see small retail and restaurants, offices and small shops. On Alkire Road from Georgesville Road to Gardner Road, the plan suggests park-supporting businesses, small restaurants or small-scale retail.
"This would make it easier for those who come to the (Darby) park," Weiner said.
Some park-supporting businesses might include a canoe shop, a bicycle repair shop or a store to purchase fishing gear.
Small scale commercial might go up along Norton Road just east of State Route 665.
Weiner said the goal is to preserve as much farmland as possible and help farmers stay on their land.
"Right now there is a huge demand for locally grown food," he said. "There is more of a demand than what is being produced. We want to make it easier and more financially rewarding for farmers to stay on their land."
Some residents expressed concern they they would be tied to the land. Weiner said if they want to sell their land, they are free to do so.
The plan aims to preserve the scenic beauty in Pleasant Township by protecting the Big and Little Darby and keeping an ample amount of open space. The plan will have to follow the Big Darby Accord, an agreement among 10 jurisdictions to restrict development in the environmentally sensitive area.
"The township has an economical jewel in the Big and Little Darby," said Weiner. "Thanks to the Darby Accord, people are now paying attention to it."
The key concept in residential development is to keep the township rural and make sure and new houses compliment the current landscaping.
Some residents say speeding is a major problem in Pleasant Township. The speed limit on the rural roads are either 45 or 55 miles per hour.
The transportation portion of the plan aims to slow traffic where it is too fast and make travel safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Residents say drivers do not abide by speed limits and some even drag race down the rural roads.
"Someone is going to get killed," said one concerned resident.
Township Trustee Keith Goldhardt said the township wants the state legislature to give more power to townships regarding speed limits. He also said the township was looking into contracting with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to keep an officer in the township for a certain time period.
Weiner said his department plans to discuss speed limits in the township with the Franklin County Engineer’s Office.
Weiner said he wants to make it easier for residents to find out what is going on with new proposals. The development department is working on a Web site where residents can continually check for updates.
Residents at the meeting got a questionnaire regarding the comprehensive plan outline.
For residents who would like to submit further comments, mail them to Franklin County Development Department, 280 East Broad St. Suite 202, Columbus, OH 43215. You can also e-mail your comments to Brandon Mark at email@example.com.
This land use plan is not in its final stages.
"There is ample opportunity for change," said Weiner.
The county and township will hold additional public input sessions in the future.