Franklin Township’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee held its second public meeting Monday evening to collect input from residents on the planning process.
Dennis Martinak, of D. Martinak Planning and Consulting, ran the meeting.
“Everybody wants to see good things happen for the township,” he said. “And we’ve already seen some people stepping up and willing to help.”
Two of the biggest concerns raised during the meeting were how to reduce the property tax burden on homeowners and business owners, and how to keep younger generations, young families and developers in Franklin Township.
Residents asked township representatives if they’ve learned anything from looking at the previous plan, which is more than 30 years old.
“We’ve learned we shouldn’t wait 30 years to have a new comprehensive plan,” responded township Supervisor Corbly Orndorff.
The committee wants the plan to address potential growth in five main areas – housing, infrastructure, economy, transportation and quality of life. Martinak listed issues in those categories and asked the residents present Monday to rank in order of importance.
Under housing goals, his list included types of housing, such as patio homes for seniors in locations accessible to services, but also mixed-use developments that would have residential and non-residential space. The group also talked about bringing more housing developments into the township and starting in places that already have infrastructure.
Infrastructure played a big role in the discussion. The three main infrastructure issues the committee is focusing on are areas in which residents would like to expand water, sewage, roads and internet access. They’d also like those efforts or any infrastructure improvements to coordinate with any plans in the works by local utility providers.
Martinak asked residents to list areas in the township they’d like to see developed and which areas they’d like to preserve for environmental or historical reasons.
Aside from supporting existing businesses and trying to attract new ones, the township wants to explore industrial opportunities and possibly repurpose brownfield properties. They also want to work with the county on any future plans for the county airport property and Greene County Fairgrounds.
They also discussed how to better leverage the township in the natural gas industry and any improvements being done throughout the township.
The township wants to make improvements to Route 21 to help with increased traffic flow, and possibly put in dedicated bike lanes, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings where they would be useful.
One major concern for the residents at the meeting was making the implementation of the plan a reality. Once the plan is approved, they want accountability from the township. One resident suggested quarterly meetings or workshop sessions to update the public on what’s in the works or being accomplished and to make sure the plan remains a focus for the township.
“Implementation and moving forward is going to be big – that’s a big concern for any project or planning process that we do,” Martinak said. “All along, the end goal is to have a plan in which priority goals can be implementable. We want to make sure this is getting done and not just sitting on a shelf.”
Gary Bowers, owner of Kari Resources and a member of the committee, asked residents, business owners and investors to participate and not give up on the planning process.
“Where else are we going to go?” he said. “This is our home.”