Clintonville Area Commission members opted May 3 to take the stick rather than the carrot when it comes to buying into a new citywide planning process.
After attending an April 25 presentation on the new Columbus Citywide Planning Policies -- dubbed "C2P2" by city officials -- CAC Chairwoman Libby Wetherholt said all area commissions were urged to give the new approach their blessing and to do so practically right away.
The materials supplied at the April 25 event, hosted by City Councilwoman Jaiza Paige, chairwoman of the economic development and small-business committee, even included a sample letter for area commission members to use.
"The intent of this letter is to indicate that we are supportive of the 'spirit' of C2P2," one passage states.
"They want this this month, which I was not pleased about," Wetherholt said May 3.
The city's website calls C2P2 "a new approach to area and neighborhood planning for Columbus," designed to establish "a foundation for future neighborhood planning and development review."
The policies are designed to "guide and focus our share of this growth in a manner that supports the city's economic competitiveness, benefits the environment, and improves resident's quality of life," according to the website.
One factor in favor of signing off on the letter of support, which city planners want to provide to council by next month, is that area commissions that do so are eligible for having land-use plans -- the only remaining strictly local aspect of city planning -- developed ahead of those that don't, Wetherholt said.
Instead of taking that offer, commission members voted to send C2P2 for review by the planning and development as well as the zoning and variance committees.
"There are neighborhoods that would be crazy not to jump on this, but I don't think Clintonville is one of them," District 1 representative David Vottero said.
He made the motion to have members of the standing committee review and offer advice before the commission gets behind the new approach, noting that "hundreds of citizens" put many hours into developing Clintonville's Neighborhood Plan, which formally was adopted in 2009.
Vottero said city planning personnel "seem to be in a big hurry" to present C2P2 to City Council members prior to their August recess, but he doesn't feel the CAC should be rushed.
"If this puts us a month off the city's official goal, well, I'm sorry for that," Vottero said.
The vote came after a lengthy presentation from Justin Goodwin, a member of the planning and development committee, on nearly two years of work by a subcommittee laying the groundwork for what had been an anticipated full review of Clintonville's Neighborhood Plan by city officials starting next year.
That effort might now be moot, Wetherholt said.
"This is the city's effort at, first of all, admitting they will never be able again to update neighborhood plans, because there are just too many of them and they don't have enough people," she said in opening discussion of C2P2.
Goodwin said the work completed by members of the Neighborhood Plan subcommittee won't have been entirely in vain, even in the face of C2P2. Those on the panel "have gotten a higher level of understanding" of issues relating to land-use planning for the neighborhood, he said.
District 9 representative B.J. White, who also attended the April 25 presentation, said her main takeaway was that the key focus of the new citywide approach to planning is to "improve and heighten density."
Wetherholt said Clintonville might be in for some increases in density under proposals in C2P2, whether residents like it or not.
"Our goal as a commission is to make sure our quality of life is maintained or improved even with increased density," she said.