The city of Delaware is preparing to launch an update of its comprehensive plan -- and it's looking for a few good residents to join the effort.

The process is expected to take about a year, said city spokesman Lee Yoakum.

In a summary of the plan, the city describes it as "an ambitious long-range planning effort to establish a vision and policies for how and where the city will grow and change over the next decades."

Delaware residents, in addition to people who work or own property or a business or represent an organization in the city, are encouraged to apply if they are at least 16 years old.

"No legal, planning or government background is needed," Yoakum said.

For an application form and more information, visit delawareohio.net/comprehensive-plan.

"We are trying to reach as broad an audience as possible to encourage folks to apply to be on the steering committee," said David Efland, the city's planning and community development director.

"We need a workable-sized group, ultimately, obviously, but we would ideally like a broad range of ideas, groups and people represented from throughout the community," he said. "This is exciting for our city and we are looking forward to getting the committee formed, up and running."

The current comprehensive plan was adopted in 2004, and at the time it had an expected life span of five years.

"With the robust planning that was done, it still has relevance in 2018. Many of the implementation goals are still relevant today," Yoakum said.

Now is the time to update it with the goal of "looking at future improvements based on current trends and priorities," he said.

"This is an opportunity to have a say in the future of Delaware, to have a pivotal role in what our city will look like in generations to come," he added.

The steering committee that worked on the current plan in 2003-04 included individuals representing local businesses and agencies, as well as 12 members identified as residents in the plan's report.

Such a diverse group, Yoakum said, set the bar "very high" with the 2004 plan, "and proof of that is parts of the plan are still relevant."

The purpose of the comprehensive plan, he said, is not to itemize a number of objectives to be achieved and scratched off a list.

Instead, he said, the plan's goals are used to frame and influence decisions on recurring issues the city will face many times over a period of years.

Yoakum pointed to some of the goals of the 2004 plan that were listed in an executive summary: managing growth, maintaining the community's character, expanding transportation options, offering housing for all residents, and environmental conservation. The city can be expected to make a number of decisions in each of these areas over time, he said, and when that happens, the city makes those decisions in line with the plan's goals.

One example: Making land-use decisions that conform to the plan "allows the city to grow in a responsible and comprehensive way," Yoakum said.

Other points of focus in the executive summary include community facilities and services, economic development and community character.

The 2004 plan report can be found at tinyurl.com/delawarecompplan.

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