By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON - As this region of Ohio continues its rapid growth, area leaders want changes at the state level to help them manage the population boom.
Elected officials and professional planners on Monday called for state-mandated comprehensive plans, and allowing the option of charging impact fees on new development, during a hearing of the Ohio House subcommittee on growth and land use.
The meeting at the Warren County administration building was one of many the committee is holding statewide to gather information that could lead to legislative action.
"My mom and dad are approximately 80 years old. They should not see their tax rate go up every year," County Commissioner Mike Kilburn said during his argument for impact fees.
"It's high time that people coming into Warren County pay."
Commissioners in Ohio's second-fastest-growing county have advocated a $3,000 to $10,000 fee on each new home built in the county as a way to pay for new schools and slow growth.
The case also was made for having the state require all jurisdictions to have a comprehensive plan.
While many cities, townships and counties do have these plans, there is no law requiring it, said David Efland, a senior planner with the city of Cincinnati.
"You cannot talk about fixing each individual piece of the puzzle without talking about fixing the planning piece," he said.
Planning laws are being reformed nationwide, according to Bob Craig, executive director of the Warren County Regional Planning Commission, who argued that such laws should be a priority in Ohio as well.
He said the majority of the townships in Warren County want to remain predominantly rural, and that comprehensive plans as well as changes to subdivision exemptions would help that.
"It will not slow growth per se, but it's a better planning tool," Craig said.
The House subcommittee will compile the information into a report and recommendations next fall and possibly introduce legislative action, according to Nathan Burd, legislative aide to state Rep. Larry Wolpert.
Wolpert, who now chairs the subcommittee, got approval for the bipartisan subcommittee earlier this year.
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