Jerusalem Township to update its comprehensive master plan

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Jerusalem Township is preparing to update its Comprehensive Master Plan.
        "About every 10 years or so, as a township, we are supposed to update our land use or comprehensive plan,” said Township Trustee Mark Sattler. “It’s basically a strategic plan for the township.”
        The public can look at the current comprehensive plan, which was completed in 2002, on the township’s website, according to Sattler. The township at that time had hired an outside company to do it. This time, the township will update the Comprehensive Master Plan with local volunteers, which will cut costs.
        “We’re kicking off a year- long process this time to do it internally, using various township residents who are interested. Some have various areas of knowledge or skill sets,” he said. The volunteers will focus on several different elements of the master plan.
         There’s probably 25 people on these teams who will focus on eight different elements setting up the Comprehensive Master Plan. One has to do with transportation, another housing. Another area is public participation,” he said. “So part of the plan is to begin to put the framework together, and then to create a dialogue with as broad a base of residents as possible.”
Public input
        Sattler said residents will provide input on how they want to see the township in the future.
        “Do they see their township primarily as agricultural and recreational, and do they want to retain those elements?  Or, are they really interested in getting lots of new businesses, even if it involves more industrial business. I think township residents very much lean towards agricultural and recreational, and away from the township becoming more commercial and industrial. We absolutely support small businesses. I don’t think anyone wants to see lots of heavy industrial in Jerusalem Township. It’s mostly farmland, with incredible wildlife and sports fishing – lots of outdoor activities.”
Virtual meetings
        Normally, the township would hold several public forums to discuss the Comprehensive Master Plan. But due to the pandemic, trustees are taking a more cautious approach, he said.
        “With COVID, it’s going to probably be more virtual, with the use of social media and surveys to get people involved, to protect their health,” he said. “Until we reach the point where it’s actually safe, it’s going to be virtual. It’s just not safe here. We don’t have enough people immunized. The last thing we want to do is put anyone’s health at risk. The meetings are all on Zoom right now. The attorney general of the state of Ohio has indicated that we are approved to continue with virtual meetings through the end of June. If we haven’t reached a sufficient level of immunization by then, I expect he’ll do an extension.”
        The meetings will be scheduled every month this year.
        “They are all public meetings. And they’re posted on the township website. So anyone can choose to join. The meetings are mostly for the purpose of the team members. But the meetings are not private. Anyone can chime in and listen. Generally, the meetings will be held on the third Thursday of the month. The only exception might be in November because of the holiday,” he said.
        The first meeting was held March 18. The next meeting will be held on April 15 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


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