November 13, 2003



Consultants should help Township put together new land use plan

The Miami Township trustees made a smart, reasonable decision last week when they agreed to contract with an outside consultant to help the Township Zoning Commission put together the Township’s first comprehensive land use plan. That the consultant is the Greene County Regional Planning and Coordinating Commission makes the move even better.

The county Planning Commission should be able to offer professional advice on many of the technical issues that need to be included in the plan. As a county agency, the Planning Commission should be in a good position to gather much of the factual data that will be included in the plan, including population, housing trends and geographical information. Moreover, because this will be Miami Township’s first land use plan, officials with the county board should be able to provide advice on how to organize the Township Zoning Commission’s ideas into an inclusive, well-balanced plan.

The Miami Township trustees and the Zoning Commission had been discussing for some time the need to get a consultant to help with this process. In September the Zoning Commission made it clear that its members could not write the entire plan, and that consulting services would be needed. Last month Richard Zopf, the Township zoning inspector, told the trustees that a consultant could write up to half of the plan.

If the trustees took a misstep, it may have been in the quick decision to hire the Greene County Planning Commission. Just last month, the trustees asked Mr. Zopf to gather a list of consultants, as well as costs, for the trustees to consider. However, the trustees pre-empted this project when the board president, Chris Mucher, suggested at their meeting Nov. 3 that the trustees hire the county Planning Commission, a group whose services the trustees have considered using in the past.

A slight procedural slip-up like that, however, should not get in the way, as long as the trustees continue to rely on the Zoning Commission and Mr. Zopf as the primary architects of the land use plan. After all, they live in Miami Township and will be able to best gauge the interests of township residents.

Bringing a consultant on board should help speed up the process of writing the plan, a somewhat daunting task. Though a land use plan may be unglamorous, it is nonetheless important, and can help Miami Township better plan its future.

—Robert Mihalek