Thursday, Oct 27, 2016
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Sylvania Township: Consulting firm sought for new master plan

A consulting firm should be hired and a committee formed later this month to come up with a new master plan for land use in Sylvania Township.

Dennis Boyle said he and the other trustees hope to name a group of about a dozen citizens who will devise an overall plan to control growth in the township.

Brad Peebles, township administrator, said he is putting together a letter to ask for proposals from engineers and consultants to work with the group while a master plan is considered.

Mr. Boyle said there will be few marching orders to the new group, although he will ask that they look at any areas currently planned for industrial development.

The township has generally given up on the idea of heavy industry locating in the area.

The last time a township-wide master plan was developed was in 2001 and that was after 18 months of study.

Even at that, the plan wasn't approved until last September.

He noted that the future planning of the Central Avenue corridor has already been done and that should take what would have been a time-consuming part of the job away from the committee.

A series of sometimes-contentious meetings ended with a plan that essentially reserves Central Avenue frontage for commercial use and imposes increased buffering between it and residential developments.

Mr. Boyle said he would like to see similar buffering requirements between commercial and residential developments expanded to other areas of the township.

The regulations for the Central Avenue corridor require a buffer strip of 100 feet between single-family residential areas and commercial activity.

The strip must be 50 feet between commercial and multi-family developments.

Both are a substantial increase over the 30-foot buffer zone in other areas of the township under the current master plan.

Even that distance can be reduced to 15 feet if a developer erects an 8-foot fence.

Certain natural barriers don't allow for the larger buffer zones in every area of the township, Mr. Boyle said, but he would like committee members to look toward similar methods of reducing problems between commercial and residential developments.

He said committee members will decide their meeting dates and how they want to go about devising a new master plan.

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