Planners want role to expand

Friday, May 8, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission is preparing to take a broader role in guiding development throughout the county. Now, the commission serves a small number of townships and municipalities, mainly those that don't have their own planning departments.

The new structure the commission is considering would include representatives from various township and city planning commissions, as well as school districts, the library, the port authority and other governments.

The goal is to serve as a forum that is truly regional for community, environmental and economic development.

Members said they understand that some groups might see little benefit in collaborating across jurisdictions. "This is a planning outreach; this isn't the county telling people what to do," said Jay Buchert.

The planning commissioners will propose the structure to county commissioners at a meeting May 27.

Another goal is to promote desirable land-use planning concepts, according to a strategic plan document that planning commissioners and their staff have produced.

Among those concepts: plan for transit-oriented design; balance infrastructure capacity with development; link to state and national goals for land use and growth; identify avoidable consequences of growth; focus on problem-solving and community-building rather than regulating.

The strategic plan also listed some barriers to the proposal: lack of consensus on mission and vision; lack of benchmarks of progress; lack of understanding of importance of long-range planning; excessive focus on zoning and land use compatibility issues; excessive focus on townships; lack of staff and expertise; lack of funding and fragmented political structure.

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