Upper Arlington residents still have several opportunities to weigh in on the city's plans for the decade to come.

Upper Arlington residents still have several opportunities to weigh in on the city's plans for the decade to come.

Over the past year, city officials have been hosting "community conversations" with residents on specific aspects of Upper Arlington's 10-year master plan, a document that elected leaders and city staff use to create an overall vision of progress for the coming decade.

"The master plan is used as our guiding document. It gives our staff their marching orders," assistant city manager Joe Valentino said. "We had a lot of strong community input 10 years ago, and it really gave our staff confidence as we move forward in seeing where this community wants to be. I think as we've gone through the years we've hit those marks."

Valentino said that many of the ideas brought forth in the original inception of the 2001 master plan are still quoted today.

"So as we move forward we're not really out to change it," he said. "I would say 'update' is a better word," he said.

Upper Arlington's Master Plan, which can be viewed in its entirety at www.uaoh.net, is used to establish a framework for making decisions about the city's future. The plan addresses issues related to land use, the economy, community appearance, community facilities and services, housing and transportation.

"These elements express the community's interest in developing a plan that supports a high quality of life and improved provision of services and facilities through sound land use, revenue enhancement and targeted redevelopment efforts," master plan drafters stated in the document's introduction.

Valentino said the year-long process of collecting input and drafting recommendations has been going a little more slowly than anticipated, but that the end results have been very good. Ad hoc committee meetings on economic development and land use are under way, and will probably be completed later this month. Meetings dealing with the city's facilities and services have also been ongoing and are expected to conclude in September, Valentino said.

City staff are also adding two new aspects to the master plan, in the areas of sustainability and technology.

"What they've done is take a look at some of the other initiatives from 10 years ago that may have touched on sustainability and technology, and they're expanding on those, bringing them up to date," Valentino said. "Ten years ago, sustainability wasn't nearly the issue that it is today, so there are some really good things happening there."

Residents will have at least six more chances to provide input in the city's 10-year trajectory. The tentative schedule of master plan committee meetings is as follows: economic development (7:30 a.m. Oct. 7); infrastructure (6 p.m. Sept. 6); housing (4:30 p.m. Sept. 14 and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 12); and technology and sustainability (6 p.m. Sept. 12, 4:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and 6 p.m. Oct. 17). The meetings take place at Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road. The tentative dates are subject to change; updates can be found on the city's website.

Valentino said developing the plan has been a great partnering between residents and the staff who serve them.

"The thing I love the most has been the community outreach, the folks who come in with ideas," he said. "When we have a meeting where people are excited about an idea, and they have a view of how they'd like to see this community continue to grow and be vital, that's where it gets exciting.

"People still love this community and want to be involved," Valentino said. "I think that's a hallmark of Upper Arlington: People care about their own community, and they want to leave their fingerprint on it."