The chairman of the Northland Community Council's development committee said last week he is happy to see an update to guidelines governing land use and urban design back on the city's radar.

The chairman of the Northland Community Council's development committee said last week he is happy to see an update to guidelines governing land use and urban design back on the city's radar.

"I'm pleased," Dave Paul said. "I'm trying to find the time right now to actually make something happen, but I'm excited that we're going to make some progress on it."

Actually making progress is what didn't happen after community council officers signed an agreement June 23, 2011, with the city's planning department to begin the process to update the Northland I plan, which basically covers the area within Interstate 270; it dates to 2001.

It was supposed to take about a year to get the update ready for final approval by Columbus City Council, but changes in planning department personnel and the reluctance of sufficient local residents willing to serve on a steering committee resulted in delay after delay.

At the NCC's July session, Christine Palmer of the planning department was introduced as the lead project manager for the update, and the time frame for completing it is now roughly a year hence.

Guidelines more recent than 11 years ago would be welcome, said Paul, the longtime NCC president who stepped down earlier this year in favor of Emmanuel V. Remy in order to concentrate on his duties as head of the development committee.

"Right now, we're probably sort of improvising a little bit because our plan is out of date," Paul said. "I think it will be very helpful in terms of making the work of the development committee easier."

As an example, development proposals are being received by the committee through the city for higher-density projects than are allowed under the existing Northland I plan, he said.

Changes have taken place in what's perceived as beneficial development, including higher densities and mixed-use to encourage more walking, so such requests might be appropriate, Paul said, but committee members' hands are tied by restrictions in the current guidelines.

The first step in the rejuvenated update process will be to conduct the first of three or four public workshops to hear what residents want in the way of improved guidelines for their area.

"We haven't set a time for the first public forum yet," Palmer said last week.

She added her goal is to have that session scheduled for early September.

The planning area is generally bound by I-270 on the north and east; Cooke, Ferris and Morse roads on the south; and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and Huntley Road on the west, according to the city's website. The area covers approximately 11,327 acres or 17.7 square miles.