Blendon to seek home rule, establish zoning code
Blendon Township officials want to be in control of the township's future.
Blendon Township voters in November will be asked to approve home-rule powers, giving the township the ability to pass and enforce regulations, issue citations, collect fines, establish building codes and provide water and sewer services, among other things.
"It will give us more ability to be able to do a variety of different services," said Township Administrator Bryan Rhoads. "With the traditional government that we have now (under) the Ohio Revised Code, we're limited with what we can do."
Establishing the ability to provide water and sewer services for the township is important, Rhoads said, because residents have fought for years against repeated rate hikes by Ohio American Water, now Aqua Ohio.
The township also wants to develop zoning codes to improve deteriorating areas and wants to engage in economic development.
The township is forming zoning commission, comprised of five township residents, to look at potential zoning codes, Rhoads said.
In addition to asking residents to approve home-rule authority in November, the township also will ask residents to approve a joint economic development zone with Westerville, which will apply the city's 2-percent income tax to commercial and undeveloped residential portions of the township, bringing in revenue to spend on improvements and economic development.
"I think we realize that the township over the last many years has been in a stage of decline because there hasn't been a whole lot of economic development push in the township. We haven't been focused on the future; we've just been focused on the now," Rhoads said.
"The trustees realized we need to start stepping it up and really plan for the future. We realize we need to be competitive, get new businesses in here, redevelop. Instead of decay, get the neighborhood's to look better."
The drive to create a stronger hand in molding the township's future began with the plan developed for Blendon Township by Franklin County in 2009 and 2010, Rhoads said.
The plan laid out what residents of the township did, and didn't, want to see for the future of the township.
"They want Blendon Township cleaned up; they want economic development; they want bikes; they want trails; they want parks," Rhoads said.
"Everything (the joint economic development zone, home-rule authority and zoning code) is tying into the community plan and just being proactive and looking toward the future."