Residents have their say on Peters Township’s future

Published Feb 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm (Updated Feb 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm)

After three days of intensive meetings and seminars, Peters Township officials have a more definitive look at what the residents want when it comes to developing a comprehensive plan for the future of the township.

Billed as the Growth Scenerio Workshop, the three-day event covered symposiums and workshops that culminated Jan. 31 when the results were reported to an audience of about 80 residents by Paul LeBlanc, managing partner of LSL Planning Inc., and Matt Noonkester, founding principal of Seven Hills Town Planning Group.

Every 10 years, the state mandates municipalities prepare a new comprehensive plan. Peters Township has hired the groups to assist in the development of a plan.

Nothing yet, both men stressed, is set in stone.

LeBlanc called a comprehensive plan “a blueprint for the future” when it comes to, among other things, investments and zoning.

Currently the township is two-thirds developed and while a lot of those who participated in the workshops said the township is well developed, there was also a response that what is here now and the last one third of the township, could be better.

The next step, LeBlanc said, is to take the information gathered and “fine tune” the results through the township-appointed steering committee that was previously appointed, to establish development patterns. Much of the information will pass through the township’s planning commission because, as LeBlanc said, zoning restrictions are fairly rigid and cannot be changed.

Some discussion included whether or not the character of the township should remain or should be changed, if farmland should be preserved, having connectivity throughout the township, having a town center, and having options for various types of housing, such as empty-nesters, young professionals or retirees.

Some residents expressed an interest in having estate-type development or the type of housing using small lot sizes.

Noonkester said there is no right way to plan for growth and development and that each community is different and various locations within the municipality require different scenarios.

Part of the workshop entailed meeting with various department heads such as police, fire and library. Noonkester said the library does not wish to have a separate building to serve different locations because the trend is toward electronics and that instead of a library branch, perhaps a Bookmobile type of vehicle would be more useful.

Planning through the school district is essential and is dependent on what and where housing is suggested.

A new comprehensive plan is expected to be in place by the late fall.

The next steps, LeBlanc said, are to meet with the steering committee, draft a vision, including the goals, then meet with Council and the Planning Commission, then draft a plan and review the entire process.

Before any plan is adopted by council, there will be at least one public hearing.

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