UPDATED: What’s the Fuss Over the Land Use Plan?

Colorful dots on a map of Fairfield County indicating various types of land use.

Colorful dots on a map of Fairfield County indicating various types of land use.

Publisher’s Note: We originally posted this story before the Tuesday, September 5th public hearing and are leaving it posted so people have access to view the Comprehensive Plan that was discussed. Over 200 people showed up at the meeting, the majority opposed to the Plan because they believe it is a pathway to allow green space to be overtaken for development. 

The County Commissioners were asked by attendees to delay their vote so further comment and consideration can be provided. It appears there is a chance the vote will be moved to as late as December. This may allow for more time for the Plan creators to share greater detail about the Plan’s purposes and impact.

Have you heard some buzz about Fairfield County’s Land Use Plan? As the county prepares for growth, the County Commissioners hired a professional planning firm, NEXT, to conduct an in-depth planning process that involved residents, elected officials, business owners, farmers, and community volunteers to create a Draft 2023 Comprehensive Plan, which includes recommendations for Future Land Use.

The 2023 Comprehensive Plan is available to view online now. Comments can be submitted in person, online, or emailed to: [email protected].

VIEW THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN PDF
12 MB File

A Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 5th, 2023 at 5:30 pm at the Records Center 138 W. Chestnut Street in Lancaster, Ohio.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Cities and counties develop comprehensive plans to set a vision for growth like land use for housing, business development, and infrastructure (e.g., roads) to predict the services they will need to provide, create policies, and direct funding.

The Fairfield County 2023 Comprehensive Plan won’t replace local zoning, but it is meant to assist all local jurisdictions in Fairfield County in addressing zoning and planning issues.

I live in Lancaster, how does the County’s plan affect me?

One of the elements of the Future Land Use plan is the Connector planned between Interstate 70 and State Route 33. Currently, most of the truck traffic coming into Lancaster from the north is passing through – it doesn’t stop here. Their GPS systems are directing them to go on the shortest route that is also a state route. That means trucks traveling west on I-70 toward Columbus get directed by their GPS map to go south on SR-37 (Lancaster-Newark Road), around Rising Park, and west on Main Street, right through downtown Lancaster, to connect to Memorial Drive, heading on their way south.

A connector between I-70 and SR-33, which bypasses Lancaster on the west side, would potentially be a faster route than going down SR-37 and through downtown, and significantly reduce the commercial trucks (think semis and logging trucks) rumbling through town.

Map showing various routes leading into and through Lancaster, Ohio in Fairfield County.

Map showing various routes leading into and through Lancaster, Ohio in Fairfield County.

Also, SR-37 leads north to the new Intel facility in Licking County. Predicting that people will live in Lancaster and drive to Intel, the Future Land Use Map calls for higher density residential development along SR-37 with yellow shading indicating Suburban Residential (See Character Types): “Primarily single-family residential with a higher percentage of attached units, with some connectivity between neighborhoods and other non-residential areas. May also have small scale multi-family residential. Building and lot size may range in size and density. These areas are served by public water and sewer utilities.”

Along with this increase in residential development, a Crossroad Center is planned for the intersection of SR-37 and Coonpath Road. Lancaster residents feel the development of businesses at that intersection and the anticipated residential development along SR-37 make sense given the new Intel facility, however, they believe it will also mean more traffic. Without a way to redirect commercial trucks on I-70 to SR-33, widening SR-37 and creating more residential density and additional businesses may cause traffic congestion along that corridor. More traffic congestion along SR-37 would affect Ohio University’s Lancaster campus, the new High School, Rising Park, and downtown.

Again, the 2023 Comprehensive Plan is available to view online now. Comments can be submitted in person, online, or emailed to: [email protected].

VIEW THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN PDF
12 MB File

A Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 5th, 2023 at 5:30 pm at the Records Center 138 W. Chestnut Street in Lancaster, Ohio.

Filed under: Announcements, Community, News
Lynda Berge Disser

By Lynda Berge Disser

Lynda Berge Disser started her community development career in 1991 as director of a non-profit housing organization in an historic neighborhood. She has led training workshops for community-driven housing and commercial development across the country and has written grants that have brought in over $100 million for community development. Lynda currently serves as Director of the City of Lancaster's Community Development Department.