Planners with the city will be accepting responses to an online survey of Northwest Side residents on an update to the policy for land use and design in the neighborhood through Feb. 26.

Planners with the city will be accepting responses to an online survey of Northwest Side residents on an update to the policy for land use and design in the neighborhood through Feb. 26.

Responses to the questions that can be found at https://columbus.gov/planning/nwplan/ will be coupled with comments heard at the Jan. 25 public workshop held at Centennial High School, the second such session in the process of updating the Northwest Plan.

The current plan went into effect in 2007.

"We had a pretty engaged group of folks," Planning Administrator Kevin J. Wheeler said of the 28 people who attended the Jan. 25 event.

Those attending reviewed draft guidelines for land use and urban design within the area covered by the document.

"The planning area boundary is the Franklin County line on the north, the Olentangy River on the east, Henderson Road on the south, and the Scioto River/city of Dublin on the west," according to the web page for the project.

"Overall we definitely received a positive response to the draft guidelines," Jacqueline E. Yeoman, senior planner for the update, said of the workshop attendees.

As of last week, according to Wheeler, close to 50 people had taken the online survey, which begins with, "In general, residential buildings should (a) seek to preserve open space, (b) be constructed with high-quality, durable materials, (c) have a front facade made up of at least 20 percent windows and doors or (d) be oriented toward the street and face adjacent parkland."

"That's working fairly well," Wheeler said of the online survey, "and we anticipate more of that as word continues to spread."

Wheeler hastened to say citizen input on the plan update is not limited to the online survey and workshop sessions.

People can send emails or even call the planning department.

"However they most want to be engaged," the administrator said.

"Some of the concerns that we did hear at the workshop were about compatibility of new development ... relative to existing neighborhoods," Yeoman said.

In particular, she added, people are worried about the possible height of new development.

"Those are things that are definitely going to be looked at more in depth," she said.

Pedestrian connectivity, better bike path design, preservation of natural resources and additional open space are also things that have come up in workshop sessions and the online surveys, Yeoman said.

"One of the things we continue to communicate to folks is that the plan in and of itself does not contribute to change," Wheeler said.

The recommended land-use plan, land use policy and design guidelines will be used as policy basis to review land use, zoning and variance applications, the website states.

The policies do not change existing land use or existing zoning, and will not apply to development already permitted by the zoning code, according to the website.

Once the online survey period concludes Feb. 26, Yeoman said planning staff members will weigh all the comments received and make any necessary revisions to the draft update.

A third public workshop will then be held, probably in late spring, she said.

Wheeler has said planners hope to have the final update to the Northwest Plan ready for approval by City Council in the middle of the year.