Western Licking County Accord

Overview

The proposed Western Licking County Accord is designed to protect the area’s quality of life, including its rural, small -town character, with policies and development standards that promote desirable land uses and determine the locations where new development will best serve the communities.

Protecting Our Quality of Life

The proposed Western Licking County Accord is a collaborative initiative between Jersey Township, the village of Johnstown and the city of New Albany to proactively plan for and responsibly manage future growth in a way that protects the desirable quality of life residents enjoy and strengthens local economies.

Managing Future Growth

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission estimates that the central Ohio population will grow by one million people by 2050. That growth will impact Western Licking County. If approved, the accord is a non-binding agreement that serves as a policy document to guide public investment and public and private development decisions to manage that growth. Many communities throughout central Ohio have worked together through multi-jurisdictional accords, such as the Big Darby Accord and the Rocky Fork-Blacklick Accord, to successfully preserve natural features and promote responsibly managed land use.

Promoting a Shared Vision

The planning process allows the three communities to pool their resources, gives people a voice in establishing a shared vision and promotes coordination of development and infrastructure improvements in areas that cross jurisdictional lines. The plan takes into consideration all future land uses — from agriculture, rural residential and open space to civic, commercial, office and industrial/distribution.

Analyzing Current Conditions and Future Trends

To ensure that the WLC Accord represents the concerns and interests of residents in the three jurisdictions, MKSK, a planning and landscape architecture firm, was retained to conduct an analysis of existing conditions, current plans, future trends and area assets (physical, economic, etc.) in the three communities.

Giving Residents a Voice

MKSK conducted meetings with the three jurisdictions’ elected officials and planning personnel, held a public workshop, led a focus group with residents and gathered additional input through an online survey in December and January.

A second public meeting will be held at 7 pm on April 20 at the Jersey Baptist Church, 13260 Morse Road, where MKSK will share findings from the online survey as well as preliminary ideas related to future land uses for community feedback. In June, MKSK will provide a draft plan that includes proposed land use policies and development standards reflecting the accord’s shared vision. After final review and discussion, each jurisdiction will have the opportunity to formally approve and adopt the plan.

September 2017 WLC Final Accord Draft

Coordinated planning efforts across jurisdictional boundaries help communities know what to expect when their neighbors are preparing for changes. A shared planning agreement, such as an Accord, helps to establish a formalized way for all parties to stay informed and communicate as they decide if, how, and where development occurs.

Download the WLCA Final Accord Draft

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the proposed Western Licking County Accord?

The proposed Western Licking County Accord is a collaborative initiative between Jersey Township, the village of Johnstown and the city of New Albany to proactively plan for and responsibly manage future growth in a way that protects the desirable quality of life residents enjoy while building resilient, sustainable communities and strong local economies. The accord is a non-binding agreement or policy document that, if approved, will guide public investment and public and private development decisions. It takes into consideration future land uses — from agriculture, rural residential and open space to civic, commercial, office and industrial/distribution.

Why does my community need the Western Licking County Accord?

The central Ohio region’s population is expected to grow by more than one million people by 2050. That growth will affect Western Licking County and will impact everything from land consumption to infrastructure and, ultimately, residents’ quality of life. Lack of planning leaves communities vulnerable to development that detracts from the character of the community, including traffic congestion and lower quality developments, while straining local government resources. The planning process allows our communities to pool their knowledge and resources, gives residents a voice in how their community grows and promotes coordination of  desirable development in areas that cross jurisdictional lines. The Big Darby Accord and the Rocky Fork-Blacklick Accord are examples of how communities have successfully worked together to preserve natural features and promote responsible land use.

How is the Western Licking County Accord being developed?

To ensure that the WLC Accord represents the concerns and interests of residents in the three jurisdictions, MKSK, a planning and landscape architecture firm, was retained to coordinate the process. Working with elected officials and planning staff in each community, MKSK analyzed existing conditions, current plans, future trends and area assets (physical, economic, etc.), held a public workshop, led a focus group and conducted an online survey to gather input from residents on future land uses.

What are the next steps and can I still get involved?

Yes, we welcome your input. A second public meeting will be held at 7 pm on April 20 at the Jersey Baptist Church, 13260 Morse Road, where MKSK will share findings from the online survey as well as preliminary ideas related to future land uses for community feedback. In June, MKSK will deliver a plan that reflects the input and includes proposed land use policies and development standards. After final review and discussion, each jurisdiction will have the opportunity to formally approve and adopt the plan.

Who will make decisions about future development in my community?

Each jurisdiction will continue to make its own decisions about development within its community. The accord is a non-binding document that gives each community a tool to manage growth in a way that protects the character of the community while accommodating future residential and commercial developments that strengthen the community’s tax base.

How will the Western Licking County Accord help my community maintain its rural character?

Our survey found that 86% of residents want to preserve their community’s rural, small-town character. Each jurisdiction determines how the rural character will be preserved and incorporates that vision into their own plans as well as the accord. These land use plans designate locations for certain uses, whether that is rural residential, green space or commercial. In conjunction with design standards, the land use plans preserve and protect the desirable character of the community while allowing for growth in designated areas.

Will new development lead to more traffic?

It is not necessarily new development in our communities that will lead to more traffic. It’s population growth throughout the region that will affect traffic. If we don’t adequately plan for that growth, we are likely to experience traffic congestion and other issues. Through the accord, we can avoid many issues by anticipating them and planning in advance. Additionally, together, our communities will have a stronger voice in getting support and funding from the county, state and federal government to make sure that our roadway systems can adequately accommodate that growth.

What are the advantages of the WLC Accord?

The proposed WLC Accord is a non-binding policy document to help the participating jurisdictions work together to determine what areas might benefit from future development and what areas should be preserved. By collaborating, the jurisdictions help prevent the types of development that are not consistent with the small-town, rural character residents want to retain and help ensure that, when land is developed, the plan preserves the natural features of the land which benefits all three communities.

Property owners benefit because they know what is happening around them and can make informed decisions about their private land and property. Because townships have limited development controls and resources to dedicate to development review, an accord will benefit Jersey Township by increasing its ability to control if, how and where development happens. Johnstown and New Albany benefit from the accord by knowing what types of development will occur adjacent to their borders.

In an accord, collaboration can range from stronger communications among the jurisdictions to a review panel made up of representatives from the three communities who would make recommendations to the jurisdiction planning the development. Ultimately, that jurisdiction decides what is best for their community.

Who will make the final decisions on development for each community?

The final decisions on development will remain with each community as they occur today. For example, if there were a WLC Accord panel, the panel would be comprised of appointees from Jersey Township, Johnstown and New Albany. New development applications in the WLC Accord area would be reviewed by the panel. The panel would make recommendations for the development plan based on the WLC Accord design guidelines and future land use map. These recommendations would be passed on to the home jurisdiction for that parcel(s) of land. Then the application would go through the normal development review process in its jurisdiction. This allows every jurisdiction to be aware of development occurring within the Accord area.

What rights do property owners have?

All the land in the study area is governed by existing zoning. All land owners have the right to sell their land to a willing buyer or develop their land according to their property’s existing zoning (which specifies such things as permitted land use(s), densities, lot sizes, setbacks, etc.). Land owners may go to their zoning authority to request to rezone, but it is not guaranteed that the zoning authority will allow a change. A significant consideration of whether to approve a rezoning request from a property owner is based upon the future land use plan. For this reason, the Accord would be helpful to property owners by establishing expected future land uses.

How does annexation work?

Annexation occurs when property in a township is incorporated (brought) into a village or municipality. There are several ways property can be annexed into another jurisdiction. The most common way is for a land owner to petition (request) their property to be annexed from their township into a neighboring village or municipality. This can only occur when a certain percentage of the property is adjacent to that jurisdiction. In the Accord area, annexation would occur from Jersey or Monroe Townships to New Albany or Johnstown. The following is a link to the Ohio Revised Code section covering annexation law. http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/709

Why would property owners want to annex into a village or city?

Typically, land owners request to annex because they wish to receive water and sewer services. Central water and sewer services allow certain types of commercial, industrial and retail developments that are difficult or impossible to achieve on well and septic. It also allows for residential development on lots smaller than two or three acres. To be able to build this type of development is a primary reason land owners request to have their property annexed.

There has been discussion of a JEDD. What is a JEDD?

A Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) is a mechanism for cooperative service provision and revenue sharing among jurisdictions and is formed when multiple jurisdictions agree to facilitate economic development in a specific area within a township. Land within a JEDD is not annexed. A JEDD allows a township to partner with a city or village to provide additional services (like water and sewer) and apply its taxing authority to that portion of property in a township. The township receives income tax that can be used to provide community resources and amenities, initiate joint projects in the planning area or pay off debt incurred to build roads or water lines for a new development. Land owners must agree to be part of a JEDD. The proposed Western Licking County Accord will not enact a JEDD, but may identify tools, such as JEDDs, that could be explored for future economic development in the planning area.

What happens if the WLC Accord is not approved?

If the three jurisdictions choose to not coordinate land use, each community will continue to plan and develop independently. Lack of coordination leaves communities vulnerable to development that detracts from the character of the community, including traffic congestion, sprawl and lower quality development, while straining local government resources. Lack of an accord can hamper or prevent each community from thinking about associated impacts, character issues, infrastructure issues and desires of adjacent communities. Having an understanding and agreement on needs, priorities and goals for each jurisdiction should improve considerations and reduce negative impacts.

Planning Teams

WLC Accord Working Group

Jersey Township
Jim Endsley, Township Trustee
Bud Witney, Township Zoning Inspector
Jim Zablocki, Member, Township Zoning Commission Member
Johnstown
Jim Lenner, Village Manager/Planner
Jack Liggett, Service Director
Jim Blair, Zoning Inspector
New Albany
Joseph Stefanov, City Manager
Adrienne Joly, Deputy Director of Community Development
Stephen Mayer, Community Development Planner
MKSK
Chris Hermann, Principal
Aron Fraizer, Associate
Justin Goodwin, Associate

Elected Officials Group

Jersey Township Johnstown New Albany
Jim Endsley, Township Trustee
Ed Bright, Township Trustee
Derek Meyers, Township Trustee
Sean Staneart, Mayor
Carol Van Deest, Village Council
Jim Lenner, Village Manager/Planner
Colleen Briscoe, City Council
Sloan Spalding, Mayor
Joseph Stefanov, City Manager

Steering Committee

Jersey Township Johnstown New Albany
Rudy Shaffer
Debbie Carr
Danny Howser
Karen Kitts
Bill Van Gundy
Bob Orsini
Elizabeth Schwartz
Jay Hazelbaker
Neil Kirby
Marlene Brisk
Tom Rubey
Francis Strahler
Mike Durik

News

Proposed Accord Will Guide Land Use in Jersey, Johnstown and New Albany

The Columbus Dispatch explains how the proposed Western Licking County Accord will increase communications and collaboration between Jersey Township, Johnstown and New Albany to preserve each community’s character and natural features while effectively managing future residential and commercial development.

New Albany, Johnstown and Jersey Township Review Final Accord Draft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 3, 2017

New Albany, Johnstown and Jersey Township Review Final Accord Draft

Jersey Township, Johnstown and New Albany have released the final draft of the Western Licking County Accord, a policy document designed to proactively guide land use and development in and around the three jurisdictions to protect the area’s desirable quality of life while strengthening local economies. The draft Accord is founded upon each community’s comprehensive plans together with the public input and community guidance received during the Accord process.

Each jurisdiction will go through its own review and adoption process of the draft Accord for evaluation and community discussion. If approved, the non-binding Accord will serve as a policy document to guide public and private investment and development decisions. The plan’s shared vision addresses future land uses, from agricultural, rural residential and open spaces to civic, commercial, office and industrial as well as the locations where those uses best serve the communities. 

Jersey Township will hold a public meeting to review the accord draft at 7:30 pm, Tuesday, October 17 at the Township Hall, 1481 Mink Street SW, Pataskala, Ohio

“The process of creating the Accord has brought the jurisdictions closer together, improved their communication, and has set the stage for the future,” says Chris Hermann, principal at MKSK, a planning and landscape architecture firm that is overseeing the planning process on behalf of the three jurisdictions. “In my experience, communities become stronger when they can work together to understand each other’s needs and concerns and, ultimately, act upon a shared vision.”

The three communities embarked on the collaborative planning process last fall. More than 150 residents provided input into the planning process through several public meetings and an online survey that was sent out to residents and posted on each community’s website.

The Accord establishes six objectives to guide development based upon community input and the specific goals of each jurisdiction, including 1) recognize and maintain each community’s unique heritage and identity; 2) preserve the area’s rural character by protecting natural features and rural corridors; 3) manage and focus residential growth; 4) build on agricultural roots; 5) advance Accord area employment center opportunities; and 6) extend parks and bike connectivity as an area amenity and economic development tool.

Specific implementation strategies were identified to achieve those objectives. The Accord does not include a formal review panel, instead focusing on improved communications, including quarterly staff meetings and a more coordinated review process. This will enable the communities to share development news, keep residents informed and advocate for projects and infrastructure that support mutually-agreed upon goals.

A land use agreement provides a unified plan for amenities such as parks and trails as well as infrastructure, including streets and landscape buffers. Design standards will ensure more consistent, attractive and complementary development within the Accord area.  Mapping the defining physical characteristics enables the communities to maintain and protect these unique features and assets. Each jurisdiction is encouraged to update related plans, zoning codes and regulations as they see fit to align with the Accord’s recommendations.

“These communities are already beginning to experience the impact of increased population and employment growth and the Accord gives them another tool to effectively manage that growth,” notes Hermann. “When development is done well, it can improve our quality of life and increase our tax base while buffering and protecting existing residents and avoiding traffic congestion, poor quality development and overburdened government resources,” Hermann adds. 

For more information, please contact Cheryl Pentella at 614-562-2401 or Cheryl@pentellaunlimited.com.

Residents Want Western Licking County Accord to Protect Area’s Rural, Small-Town Character

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 2017

Residents Want Western Licking County Accord to Protect Area’s Rural, Small-Town Character

Proactively planning for growth that preserves the rural, small-town character of western Licking County is the top concern of a large majority (86%) of residents who participated in a recent survey conducted on behalf of Jersey Township, the village of Johnstown and the city of New Albany.

The survey is part of a collaborative planning process among the three jurisdictions designed to responsibly manage growth in a way that protects the desirable quality of life that residents enjoy while building resilient, sustainable communities and strong local economies. If approved by all three communities, the proposed Western Licking County Accord will serve as a non-binding policy document to prudently guide future land use and infrastructure development.

“If current trends continue, the central Ohio population is expected to grow by one million people by 2050 and that growth will affect western Licking County residents,” says Chris Hermann, principal at MKSK, a planning and landscape architecture firm. “The Western Licking County Accord will allow these communities to employ development policies that identify desirable future land uses and locations where those land uses best serve the community.”

MKSK was retained to conduct the survey as part of its analysis of existing conditions, current plans, future trends and area assets (physical, economic, etc.) to help these communities build consensus about a shared vision that represents the interests of all residents.

Most survey participants (75%) favor a shared land use agreement and plan among the jurisdictions. More than 50 percent want design standards to guide future development and a multi-jurisdictional panel to review and make recommendations to elected officials regarding future development proposals.

Residents and community members also expressed a desire for public amenities, such as parks, and for new development to be designed and strategically located to not detract from the character of the area.

More than 75 percent of respondents said they would like to see some type of park, trail or recreational facility. Less than 20 percent said they did not want any new community uses.

“Development is not a bad word and, when it is done correctly, it can improve our quality of life and increase the tax base while avoiding traffic congestion, poor quality construction and overburdened government resources,” Hermann added. “This accord provides opportunities to preserve green space and add public amenities such as leisure trails and parks.”

More than 150 residents provided input into the planning process through focus groups, a public meeting and an online survey which was available on each community’s website during December and January.

A second public meeting will be held at 7 pm on April 20 at the Jersey Baptist Church, 13260 Morse Road, where MKSK will share findings from the online survey as well as preliminary ideas related to future land uses for community feedback. By summer, the firm is expected to provide a draft plan for the communities that includes proposed land use policies and development standards reflecting the accord’s shared vision. After final review and discussion, each jurisdiction will have the opportunity to formally approve and adopt the non-binding plan.

This proposed accord is designed to protect the area’s rural, small-town character.