For the first time since 2005, Violet Township is seeking to update its comprehensive plan.
Economic Development Director Robin Duffee said the aim is to chart a course for how the township will manage population growth, while also setting strategies for land development and preservation.
"A comprehensive plan is a holistic look at all kinds of things," Duffee said. "We're talking about what the township is now, what it will be in the future and what the residents want it to be."The process will be similar to one the city of Pickerington completed June 15, when Pickerington City Council concluded an 11-month project to update the city's comprehensive plan.
For its update, the first since 2000, the city spent $83,000 and was aided by the Envision Group LLC consulting firm.
The township has awarded ms consultants inc. a $39,600 contract to help gather input from residents and adapt the comprehensive plan.
"We are tasked with educating community members on the planning process and gathering feedback from the general public," said Emily Phillis, a planner with ms consultants. "We are also leading (future) steering committee meetings and are available for general mapping and planning assistance as requested by the township."
Duffee said the process began in April and township officials hope to ratify a new comprehensive plan by the end of the year.
As part of the process, he said he hopes residents and township business owners will take part in two surveys that are posted at visionforviolet.com.
"There's a community survey where we ask people for their opinions and ideas," Duffee said. "There's also a 'vision survey' where we ask people what their hopes are for the future.
"We definitely encourage people to visit the website. It should have all the info on the plan anybody would want."
The township will follow up an in-person engagement workshop it held July 8 with an event from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 14 in conjunction with the Pickerington Public Library's Summer Reading Finale at the Wigwam Event Center, 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Road NW.
Sometime this fall, Duffee said, the township will host an open house so residents can view and comment on a draft update.
"The comprehensive plan is intended to be a guide for the future and serve as a guide for future decision-makers, so they can make decisions based on the vision the planning process has laid out," Duffee said. "It's very important for Violet Township residents to be involved in the process.
"It's their community. We want people to engage in the process and tell us what they love about the community and where they want it to go so it's an authentic vision."
Phillis said community input will provide decision-makers with ideas, concerns and overall feedback so they can craft an informed development document that aligns with public sentiment.
"The goal is to create a long-term plan for growth, development and preservation to guide decision-making in Violet Township for the next ten to 20 years," she said. "I am hopeful that the planning process empowers community members to think big and bold with their ideas for the future, while also equipping local leaders with the technical expertise and guidance on funding opportunities to make the identified goals reality."
Originally published by The Columbus Dispatch.