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Published: Wednesday, 12/6/2006

Residents encouraged to give ideas on land-use


Sylvania Township residents are being asked whether they favor foundation plantings, landscaped islands, or sloped green space as part of the update of the township's land-use plan.

Through an online survey, residents can indicate their urban design preferences on landscaping; commercial "big box" stores and strip centers; residential subdivisions; office buildings, and signs.

After a successful community planning workshop in November which drew about 50 participants, trustees and a steering committee involved in the land-use plan update decided to broaden opportunities for additional citizen participation. During the session last month, residents and business owners shared their views on the physical elements that contribute to an attractive urban and rural environment.

It made sense to make the survey available online, said Randy Mielnik, principal owner of Poggemeyer Design Group. The firm was hired in June to assist the township with updating the plan. An online survey, he said, is a fairly easy way to gather comments from the public. Residents are asked to complete the online surveys by Dec. 31. To participate, visit the township's Web site at www.sylvaniatownship.com; go to zoning department and then click zoning news. Easy- to-follow instructions are posted on the Web site.

For instance, residents can give their opinions about landscaping design preferences - do you think that it is important that foundation plantings be placed at the base of a building to soften the building mass? What about landscaped islands with trees in parking lots or perhaps sloped green space between the road and parking area to obscure cars?

Questions about traditional neighborhood designs, lot splits, roof lines, and other design elements are included in the survey.

Results from the survey will be compiled and reviewed, and then the steering committee will proceed to the next step in the planning process, which will include another public meeting. The meeting will be in January, but no date has been set, Mr. Mielnik said.

Mary Lou O'Mara, Sylvania Township zoning manager, said that some surveys in paper form are available in the township zoning office in the Sylvania Township hall, 4927 Holland-Sylvania Rd.

A steering committee, set up by the trustees, is overseeing the update of the land-use plan that was drawn up in 2001 and approved in September, 2004. The plan serves as a guide for local decision-making about land use, such as when new developments are proposed; when zoning amendments are considered, and when investments in new or upgraded infrastructure are planned, officials said. The township is growing and changing as commercial and residential development continues.

The plan would help the township focus on big-picture issues and development concepts, and would provide a vision of how the township wants to look years from now, said the zoning manager.

Residents with questions about the land-use plan update are to contact Ms. O'Mara.

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