BG mulls land use plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 10:29
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Bowling Green's Future Land Use Steering Committee is getting high marks from the consultant hired to oversee the update of this section of the city's Master Plan.
"The steering group is one of the best I've seen in 20 years," said Charles Buki, of czb LLC.
"They have been working very hard. They have done more work than citizens typically do," Buki said Monday from his Alexandria, Va., office.
The committee has held at least a half-dozen meetings and has been assigned homework, much of which has involved engaging members of the community in conversations to gather ideas and concerns. The future land use plan was last updated in the 1980s.
Buki said he has been impressed with the temperament of the committee. He said experience has taught him to expect at least a couple of members of a group to be unhappy with everything. "Nobody in this steering group is in a bad mood and that means people are working together. Some people with downtown interests have set those aside, the same with the east side, for the good of the city. BGSU is asking 'What's good for BG?' I have been impressed and really surprised. The members have been candid, too. They are not staying bottled up. They are sharing concerns in a civil and mature way. That's rare in my experience," Buki said.
Depending on how a public forum set for April 28 goes, Buki said, a proposed document could be ready for the BG Planning Commission to review in early summer. The commission will likely hold a public hearing before passing the document on to city council, which must hold a public hearing before it makes a decision.
The city hired czb, which has retained its long-time partner, MIG, based in Berkeley, Calif., to co-lead the project. The contract has a cost range of $70,994 to $89,921.
Buki said he and Jeff Winston, who heads the Boulder, Colo., office of MIG, first visited BG when they interviewed for the contract last October. "We had about two hours before the interview, had a sandwich downtown, walked and drove around and took photos. We told each other we wanted this job. This town has great bones. We think we can help Bowling Green rediscover itself and become great. We have not changed our opinion one bit."
City Planning Director Heather Sayler said a key to success for the plan is to "not look at the past, but to look to the future. Some of these ideas are simple goals, others will take a long time to accomplish."
Sayler said she has also been pleased with the way committee members have frankly discussed numerous issues and stepped into leadership roles.
"Technically this is a land use plan, but if it is only a land use plan that may not really be all the city needs," Buki said. "One of the needs is redevelopment in sub-geographic parts of the city. That's coloring outside the lines to do things the city needs to do."
The effort is taking a hard look at the city east of Main Street, Buki said, because while the plan is about the entire city, "seventy percent, if not more, of the land use and zoning challenges exist on the east side. It is quite logical that attention and energy is aimed there."
One of the sets of data that has been prepared looks at housing values and sales prices on the east and west side of Main Street. Buki said that if you look at a house on the east side built about 100 years ago that has been well-maintained "and then pick it up and move it to the west side its is worth about $240,000. On the east side it is worth half of that."
The committee's work and the various data gathering done by czb LLC is available for public view on the city's website: http://www.bgohio.org/departments/planning-department/comprehensive-plan-information.
Steering Committee members are: Vicky Valentine-Adler, Jeff Betts, Julie Broadwell, Jill Carr, Suzanne Clark, Jennifer Copp, Doug Cubberly, Judy Ennis, Gary Hess, Bruce Jeffers, Earlene Kilpatrick, Steve Krakoff, Sandy Milligan, Emily Monago, Mark Remeis, Barbara Ruland, Heather Sayler, and Lori Tretter.

FUTURE LAND USE FORUM
A public forum on Bowling Green's effort to update the Future Land Use section of the BG Master Plan has been set for April 28.
The event will be held at The Melt Shoppe, 145 N. Main St. from 5 to 8 p.m.
"We wanted a dynamic place to share what the steering committee has been up to. It's not the same old-same old," BG Planning Director Heather Sayler said.
People will be able to view information, ideas and maps, ask questions and share ideas. Those who attend are welcome to come and go as they please.
There will be refreshments and prizes.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 11:36
 

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