Online workshop will help guide development in Pickerington
Pickerington residents and other community stakeholders have until Nov. 26 to participate in an online workshop that will help guide future development and land use in the city.
It’s part of an effort that started in July to update the city’s comprehensive plan, which Development Director Dave Gulden calls a flexible blueprint to guide decision-making by the city, businesses, community organizations and private individuals and entities relative to development.
Last month, the city rolled out an online survey on its website and social-media accounts seeking public input about the comprehensive plan and how residents and local stakeholders want to see Pickerington developed in the future.
This month, through Thanksgiving, officials are asking residents and other local stakeholders to take part in a virtual workshop at surveymonkey.com/r/PickeringtonVirtualWorkshop.
“We’re encouraging people to get on there and look at things like planning (standards),” Gulden said. “Pickerington residents, they’re the taxpaying citizens, and we want to get their opinions on how they want to see the city grow.”
According to city officials, Pickerington’s population has doubled to about 23,096 since its comprehensive plan for land use was updated in 2000.
Annexations, upgrades in infrastructure and subdivision growth warrant a fresh look at how the city intends to use undeveloped land and redevelop various areas of the city, Gulden said.
The city hired Envision Group LLC for $83,000 to help develop the online survey and virtual workshop, and to gather and analyze responses the city receives regarding the comprehensive plan.
According to the city’s website, the fall survey found the public generally supports a more connected community through expansion of pedestrian and bicycle paths, as well as policies that promote business recruitment and retention to yield a vibrant downtown.
The survey also found respondents want “balanced” growth that puts additional emphasis on business development in the future, as opposed to continued housing growth.
From Thanksgiving through January, Envision Group staff will pool public feedback for additional themes. Gulden said that information will be shared with the public in February.
“The purpose of the plan update is to develop a cohesive community vision to guide future public decision-making relative to land-use and housing, transportation and infrastructure, economic development, public facilities and community identity, while also providing an accompanying implementation strategy to achieve that vision,” said Emil Liszniansky, principal of Envision Group.
After gathering and analyzing the virtual workshop feedback, the consultants will provide recommendations to Pickerington City Council for modifying the comprehensive plan.
“It’s going to look at the city as a whole to see what kind of development and redevelopment will help us in the future,” Gulden said of the workshop. “It also seeks to think about how we want to grow.”
Liszniansky said that in addition to evaluating public feedback and the city’s demographics and zoning standards, Envision is looking at current trends in development, as well as infrastructure needs, “best practices” for land use, potential development and redevelopment partners for the city and opportunities to leverage outside funding.
“Final recommendations are expected to be presented to City Council in spring 2021,” he said. “A steering committee comprised of local representatives is helping to facilitate the four-step planning process which entails identification of planning issues; assessment of existing and future needs; recommendations for community enhancements; and development; and implementation strategy.
“The guidance of the steering committee will help us examine the public feedback we receive, along with our data and financial analysis, to arrive at a series of fiscally sound and feasible recommendations that are consistent with overall community desires,” Liszniansky said.