2011-10-15 / News

OSU students to create village plan

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE – No matter how badly people who live in a community would like that community to stay the same and never change, some growth is absolutely necessary to sustain all the services to which residents are accustomed to having, said Aaron Domini, a senior planner with Gahanna’s Bird Houk Collaborative architectural firm and an adjunct OSU professor.

As a professor, Domini is leading an OSU city planning class that, during the next few months, will create a master growth and development plan for the village at no expense to the village.

“This is an opportunity for the village and the students,” said Domini. “It’s a great partnership.” He said Buckeye Lake Village was a natural subject for his class. “There are so many dynamics in the village,” said Domini. He said Buckeye Lake Village is a tourist destination, much of the population leaves during winter, it has marinas, parks, distinct neighborhoods that are socially diverse, private clubs, newly planned development, and it could use the class’ services.

In other words, it’s a perfect place for Domini’s students to have some “real world” experience outside of the classroom. “It makes it an interesting case study for the students,” he said.

Domini said planning for the future is absolutely necessary for any community, despite the sluggish economy. “Doing nothing is a recipe for disaster,” he said. No matter where one goes, there will be people within the community who want to maintain the status quo, and have the community remain the same it’s always been, said Domini. However, without growth, he said it’s impossible for communities to maintain the same police and fire protection, road maintenance, and other services that community members have come to expect.

Domini said the master plan would be created in three steps. First, the students will conduct a technical analysis of the village, or, in other words, take and inventory of Buckeye Lake’s properties, services, and population. They’ll also prepare an existing conditions and trends analysis. Then, the students will begin a broad public involvement campaign including online surveys and on-street interviews with residents. “We’re trying to talk with people,” he said. Domini wants to learn what people like about Buckeye Lake Village, dis- like, and would like to see come to the village. The survey can be accessed online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/_ buckeyelakevillage. He doesn’t believe that any outside service creating a master plan can really get a feel for what the municipality needs without spending significant time talking to residents and learning what they expect to happen in the future. Domini said OSU students would begin chatting with Buckeye Lake residents soon.

Domini said the third step in the process is gaining perspective from “the outside looking in,” or speaking with people who live outside of Buckeye Lake but are familiar with it, and asking them what they would like to see the village do to make it more attractive to visitors. He hopes to have the master plan completed by December of this year. “These are just suggestions,” said Domini. “We’re not telling the village what to do. It’s a tool.”

“As a class they are making a plan for development of the village. I understand that some have already checked out the area and interviewed residents,” said Buckeye Lake Mayor Rick Baker. He said he, council President Charlene Hayden, incoming Service Director Dan Coffman, and possibly others planned meet with Domini and his class Oct. 13 to learn more about the project.

In other village news:

• Baker, during Monday night’s Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting, said the village is planning a small private party Oct. 21 to bid current Service Director Tim Matheny farewell – Matheny is retiring at the end of the month – and welcome Coffman, whose first day is Oct. 17.

“I think Tim has served the village well. He’s going to be missed, that’s for sure,” said council member Kaye Hartman.

“He’s been a tremendous asset to the village,” said Hayden.

Baker said previously that Coffman’s duties are not yet defined, although as a full-time village employee Coffman will likely focus upon development issues. Current Director of Development Valerie Hans, who is part-time, will likely take over many of Matheny’s duties.

• Fiscal Officer Vince Popo, in his report to council, recommended that council consider placing a street levy on the ballot. “Be active, not reactive,” he said. Popo said revenues are down for 2011 compared to last year. This year’s general fund is down $8,000 from last year, he said, the street department fund is down by $16,000, the fire department fund is down $19,000, and police budget is down $7,000. “We must be vigilant,” he said.

Popo encouraged council members and residents to create groups devoted to organizing flag donation and Christmas decoration fundraisers as the holiday season approaches.

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