For years, Pickerington and Violet Township have had a less than sterling reputation when it comes to cooperation and communication.

For years, Pickerington and Violet Township have had a less than sterling reputation when it comes to cooperation and communication.

In recent months, the two sides have taken steps to promote harmony and regionalism, as evidenced recently by Violet Township's proposal to share township economic development specialist Joy Davis with PIckerington, which currently has no designated economic development director.

Now, the two governments are working together on a new pact aimed at yielding developments which, at a minimum, would be less obtrusive to each entity and possibly could result in mutually beneficial projects.

Following discussions between township director of operations Bill Yaple and Pickerington city manager Bill Vance, Violet Township trustees and Pickerington City Council currently are mulling a proposed "joint planning agreement."

Under the proposal, which still requires approvals from the trustees and council, the governments would inform each other of all land-use and development applications they receive.

A panel with at least two representatives of both governments also would be formed, which would offer recommendations based on the land-use and development proposals coming before the township and city.

"This agreement coordinates an understanding that all land-use and development applications received by the city or the township will be copied and sent to either the city or the township for the purposes of ensuring open lines of communication in support of complementary development," Vance said.

As proposed, the agreement wouldn't strip either the township or city of any existing authority to approve or deny land-use or development applications.

In most cases, the trustees and council still would have final say as to what projects are accepted or denied within their respective borders.

However, Yaple said, the proposed agreement is an attempt to keep both sides in the loop about projects that might be in the development pipeline.

By doing that, both governments can discuss how a certain development or land-use plan might affect each other.

"I think it would allow for the blending of boundary line areas to eliminate incompatible uses," Yaple said. "It would be for the benefit of existing residents to make sure they're protected against a planned land use or development and the benefit of road uses.

"If we work together, it will make for more and better developments for the township and city," he said. "It's better than just saying, 'We're going to put this here because we can.' That's the way a lot of things have been done in the past."

Vance agreed, noting the city and township have gone to court in recent years over land-use and development issues.

Those lawsuits are costly, he said, and can result in potential developers and investors being leery of real or perceived hoops they may encounter in bringing a project to the area.

"The (joint planning agreement) proposal created by Violet Township's administrator and Pickerington's city manager is, in my estimation, a positive indication to the business community that our local governments are coming together and remain dedicated to better ways to accommodate development proposals more efficiently and at less cost to all involved," Vance said.

Pickerington City Council's planning, projects and services committee has endorsed the proposed agreement. Now the matter will go before the full city council.

Violet Township trustees also must approve the agreement before it can be finalized.

Yaple said the trustees have been presented with the plan but have not had time to discus it publicly. He said township likely will further examine the role of the panel, which will have representatives of both the township and city, prior to accepting the agreement.