Rocky Fork-Blacklick Accord
Panel appointments could change
Plain Township, New Albany and Columbus are considering amending the Rocky Fork-Blacklick Accord to eliminate joint panel appointments.
The accord, a planning document used by all three governments in areas where their borders converge, is governed by a nine-member implementation panel. Each entity currently appoints two members to the panel and the other three members are appointed jointly.
The amendment would change the appointments so that each jurisdiction would appoint three members to the panel.
New Albany city planner Michelle Murphy said the joint appointments are “very inefficient.”
“Each entity’s council or board has to take action,” she said. “It sometimes takes months to get a new member.”
Murphy said the governments have been making appointments — in practice — under the new format for a while. She said for joint appointments, one of the three entities makes a suggestion on a new panel member and the other two either agree or disagree.
“The process of jointly selecting three of the accord panel members is unnecessarily complicated and inefficient and should be replaced by a more streamlined process consisting of only individual appointments by each jurisdiction,” according to the proposed amendment.
Plain Township trustees approved the amendment Jan. 18.
Trustees David Ferguson and Bud Zappitelli asked why the change was requested now.
Township administrator Ben Collins said the joint appointments are taking two months to complete by the time all three jurisdictions have had time to review and approve the appointments.
Trustee Dave Olmstead, who has served on the accord implementation panel, said it makes sense to speed up the process of appointments.
Murphy said New Albany City Council and Columbus City Council are expected to review the amendment in February.
The Rocky Fork-Blacklick Accord was adopted in 1997 by Columbus and New Albany. Plain Township later adopted the accord, described as “a multijurisdictional land use and development policy guide covering portions of Columbus, New Albany and Plain Township,” according to the city of Columbus website.
The accord panel reviews zoning applications for the accord planning area and makes recommendations to the government with jurisdiction over the zoning. The government with jurisdiction over the zoning has the final vote on any zoning changes.