Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016
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Wauseon: Plan seeks to control city's growth

WAUSEON - Proposed changes to Wauseon's comprehensive land-use plan reflect ongoing goals and objectives, including that the city should strive to maintain a balance of residential, commercial, and industrial growth, officials said.

"We don't want to be a bedroom community," said Steve Brown, Wauseon's planning director. "We want to be a self-supporting community."

Encouraging a balance of commercial, residential, and industrial growth is more advantageous to the city from a tax-base standpoint, as opposed to growth centered around residential development, said Ed Hecock, a member of the Wauseon planning commission.

"We want to provide opportunities for growth for retail, commercial, residential, and industrial," Mr. Hecock said, noting that this mirrors the philosophy included in the plan when it was updated in 1987.

A key proposed amendment involves a land-use district that would allow for the development of a blended neighborhood of homes, stores, and light industry.

The new land-use definition for mixed-use is the most significant change in the amended plan, Mr. Hecock said. Developers might be interested in pursuing the mixed-use concept in the Glenwood North area, he said. It would be up to the planning commission, he said, to approve proposed mixed-use projects on a case by case basis.

Mayor Jerry Dehnbostel said a mixed-use concept could stimulate growth in the Glenwood North area because the land-use district it is "a little more user friendly," allowing for the development of homes, stores, and businesses.

Plans call for the construction of a mile-long extension of Glenwood Avenue from Linfoot Street to State Rt. 2 that would open a large section of land for possible development. Two feeder streets that would open additional frontage are included in the estimated $4.6 million project.

Drawings are done, but the city hasn't received final approval from the state Environmental Protection Agency. Property owners have given verbal approval for proposed assessments of $9,500 an acre, the mayor said. The next step is to draw up an agreement with the property owners for the voluntary assessment. After that, the project can be put out for bid. Based on engineer's estimate, it would take about six months, weather permitting, to build the roads. Properties wouldn't be assessed until the land is developed. Right now, there is no development there - the extension will cut through a field, the mayor said.

The extension marks the first major street in many years in the city that is "going to really open up a lot of opportunities," Mr. Dehnbostel said. The Glenwood North area includes about 130 acres, not including the 73-acre Dorothy B. Biddle Park that will run along the southeastern side of the extension. The park is under construction.

The new streets are part of the comprehensive plan, he said. The plan notes that east-west arteries need to be added, officials said.

Planning commission members worked on the amended plan for a couple years, Mr. Hecock said. The plan addresses land use, and is used as a guide for city officials, developers, and others.

"This is just a guide, a recommendation of what we want to see in the future," Mr. Brown said. City council last week approved the first of three readings to the amendments.

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