The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) is holding an open house Wednesday evening to talk about a vision for land use in the region. The commission is nearing the end of a 7-year planning process aimed at addressing uneven urban and suburban planning in the Miami Valley.
“We have been experiencing a thinning out of our tax base over the last 30 years,” said Martin Kim, Director of Planning for the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission who says cities and towns that are dependent on property taxes have suffered.
From 1970 to 2000, the regional population stayed basically flat, but land use grew by 45 percent. In other words: sprawl happened, but not necessarily intentionally. Now the MVRPC, which works with cities, counties and townships all over the region, is trying to look at land use more intentionally through an initiative called “Going Places.” The goal is to have a vision for where and how buildings and infrastructure will be put up, repaired or torn down.
The commission came up with a plan in 2011 that focuses on preserving farmland and nature areas, and building and maintaining already-dense areas—an anti-sprawl vision. Right now cities, towns and counties generally do planning and assessment on their own, and a lot of times bring in development projects with no way of looking back at how many jobs were created and whether a certain investment was worthwhile.
“What kind of resources can we provide to decision-makers, planning practitioners or citizens...so that they can make an informed decision?” says Kim.
The commission has issued a list of tools meant to help municipalities actually do that. Those include a regional digital mapping system, and a central database to help economic developers evaluate projects and choose sites. They would also develop a tool to actually track the returns on investments such as new industrial parks or revitalization projects.
Three open houses will give members of the general public an opportunity to learn and comment about the tools:
Wednesday, February 19, 2014, Troy Rec's Ground Floor Gym, 11 N. Market St., Troy, Ohio 45373
Thursday, February 20, 2014, Greene County Jobs and Family Services building, 541 Ledbetter Rd., Xenia, Ohio 45385
Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Center for Regional Cooperation, 1100 W. Third St., Dayton, Ohio 45402