A divided Marysville City Council approved a resolution of support April 11 for an Upper Scioto Watershed Balanced Growth Plan proposed by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
The tally was 4-3, with JR Rausch, Tracy Richardson, Mark Reams and council President Nevin Taylor voting for the resolution. Henk Berbee, Dan Foght and Deborah Groat voted against it.
MORPC's proposal calls for communities to follow a plan when considering development and its effect on watershed areas. In exchange for following the guidelines in the proposal, communities may qualify for state grants and possibly some federal money as well.
The Upper Scioto planning partnership includes 29 communities and covers 433 square miles.
The plan was introduced in February; city officials have been weighing the pros and cons for the last two months.
Marysville Mayor John Gore said he supports the plan based on economic concerns. It would allow the city to earn extra points toward grant applications, low-interest loans and more, he said.
"The grant market is very, very competitive. We will now get a couple of extra points on an application when applying for money," Gore said. "You can get in situations where one or two points make a difference on whether you get the grant or not."
One item of concern for some of council members was the use of the word "watershed" in the plan.
"This is not a watershed plan," Rausch said. "This is a balanced growth plan. The Upper Scioto Watershed just happens to be the area under discussion.
"The idea is that we protect and plan for the growth in certain areas then the quality of water should be preserved in the Upper Scioto Watershed."
Rausch pointed out that City Planner Greg Delong spent more than 70 hours working on the plan with MORPC, representing Marysville.
Several members of council stated they were glad they could each express their opinions but still be united in their work for the city.