August 6, 2008

Townships Draft Growth Plans

By Heather Rutz, The Lima News, Ohio

Aug. 6--LIMA -- Five of the county's 12 townships have comprehensive plans or are working on them and a sixth is waiting in line to do the same.

Bath and Richland townships have completed their plans, said Thomas Mazur, executive director for Lima Allen County Regional Planning Commission.

Auglaize, Shawnee and American townships are in various stages of completing plans and Jackson Township is next to begin working on its plan, Mazur said Tuesday.

The plans help government officials and the public prioritize what's important in land use and future development, Mazur said, and assess strengths and weaknesses.

For example, in Auglaize Township officials and residents want to protect agricultural ground and the rural nature of the township, but are not prepared with the proper infrastructure to handle expected population trends through 2030, Mazur said.

The township has only single-family homes and mobile homes for housing, more than 70 miles of roads that aren't wide or strong enough, and limited water and sewer lines and plants, Mazur said. It has no apartments or multifamily housing, but also doesn't yet have a way to develop that.

Population trends in Auglaize Township show an increased population, decreasing number per household and the need for another 800 homes in the future, Mazur said.

If a community wants to preserve its rural character, it needs to find a way to provide homes for residents that take up less agricultural ground, but that requires a financial commitment to things such as water and sanitary sewer lines, Mazur said.

"Part of the planning process is to understand what you need, how much land you have and what its use is and what you may need," Mazur said.

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