Violet’s Future

Violet’s Future

Will Residents See the Future They Want?

What: In 2021, Violet Township undertook an update of the 2005 Violet Township Land Use and Transportation Plan with the help of MS Consultants and a Citizens Steering Committee.   Since 2005, the township has undergone a tremendous surge in housing developments but little commercial development.  The new plan will guide growth for the next 10 – 15 years and incorporates the views of community leaders, government officials and, importantly, residents’ views as to how they see their community and what the future holds.

A new plan will identify objectives and develop policies for land use, transportation, housing, parks and recreation, and economic development

How:  Throughout 2021, residents’ input was gathered from surveys taken on the website: visionforviolet.com; in-person pop up sessions at Combustion Brewery, Pickerington Farmers’ Market and a library event at the Wigwam; from input and surveys received by the citizens steering committee; and finally, a community workshop held at the Wigwam.

Although the survey sample size was small, 82% of respondents voted for more parks and trails; 63% for preserved land; but there was little support for more housing at 5% due to overcrowded schools.

Status: The plan, Vision for Violet, Violet Township Comprehensive Plan, missed its December deadline and the public engagement part is now complete.  However, the township is currently working with its consultant to finalize the plan.  The last step is to present it to the township trustees for formal adoption by resolution.

Implementation: How will the township utilize the new plan?  Some townships incorporate their plans into their zoning code, others consider the plan to be merely guidance that may or may not influence decision-making.  To date, it appears from statements made in public, the trustees and the zoning commission, unfortunately, view the upcoming plan as mere guidance.

There is one important acknowledged benefit to the plan: it serves as justification for seeking and obtaining grant monies.  The township plans to pursue grants for parks and sidewalks; however, seeking grants to preserve land is perceived to be harder.

One suggestion to preserve land is a “one for one” strategy.  For every acre developed, whether commercial or housing development, one acre is set aside for preservation.  Unfortunately, there is no inventory of the township’s remaining sensitive natural areas: i.e., wetlands, stream buffers or residual forests that filter the water, reduce flooding, clean the air and provide wildlife habitat.  If such areas are identified, they can be preserved through a “one for one” township policy, but it can also be achieved through grants such as Clean Ohio.

Townships can also serve as sponsors of agricultural conservation easement grants through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  To date, the township is not a sponsor.  Most of the remaining agriculture land is in the southeast quadrant of the township.  Coincidentally, much of this area is designated as CEDA (Community Economic Development Agreement) for development which encompasses the land south of Basil Western Road.  Farmers wanting to preserve their land for future generations can do so through a conservation easement.  The upcoming plan needs to include a section on agriculture.  In survey results, 26% of respondents wanted to see agriculture protected.

Questions Yet to be Answered: Some townships do incorporate their comprehensive plans into their zoning codes thus giving it a legal basis for decision-making.  Currently, the zoning commission is nearing the completion of its review of the zoning code. Major zoning changes may need to be adopted by the trustees.  Will such zoning changes be adopted prior to acceptance of the new Vision for Violet Comprehensive Plan?  Will anything from the plan be incorporated into the zoning code?

Will residents have sufficient opportunity to review and comment on the final plan?  It is expected there will be public hearings prior to the trustees adopting a resolution to accept the final plan.

Your Future, Your Representatives:  You can continue to lobby for your future by attending the trustee and zoning meetings.  You will find a meeting calendar at the township’s website: Violet Township – Meeting Schedule (civicweb.net).  Trustees meet the first and third Wednesdays of the month, Zoning Commission meets the third Thursday, times – 7pm, place – the Wigwam.

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