City of Upper Arlington, Ohio

City Manager's Blog

Nov 8th, 2017
09:49 AM
9 days ago

The work of a local government like Upper Arlington is varied and fast paced. For our Community Development Department, this is an understatement. From one year to the next, the Planning and Building divisions have experienced an ever upward trajectory of construction permit values—and their resulting inspection requirements—affirming our community’s vibrancy and attractiveness for homeowners and developers alike. In one week alone recently, the department processed permits for seven new homes—some to replace old homes, others on recently platted sites—with a construction value of more than $10 million.

With all this activity, one might wonder, how do the department’s professional planners ever manage to get ahead of the trends? How do they help proactively shape the evolution of neighborhoods to promote the community’s best interests and respond to what our residents want? It has certainly been a challenge. Since the first major update of our City’s Master Plan in 2001, and the creation of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) in 2002, some housekeeping tweaks have been made to the UDO as issues have arisen, but there has not been an opportunity to truly take a step back to look at the specific needs, challenges and opportunities facing our neighborhoods. Until now.

Planning NEXT—the consulting firm that guided the 1998-2001 Master Plan process under its former name ACP Visioning+Planning—has been engaged to help us take a deep dive into an often overlooked but extremely important residential district, to make sure we are providing an appropriate policy framework that supports the district’s unique character and fosters the qualities that make it special.

The River Ridge/Kingsdale West district—which is bounded west-to-east by Riverside Drive and Kingsdale/Tremont Road, and by Zollinger and Fishinger roads— is a valued neighborhood within Upper Arlington. Over a period of approximately three months, study area residents and other community members will have several opportunities to participate in the process of developing the study and to share their ideas about housing trends, neighborhood connectivity, pedestrian access, safety, traffic and more. Our Planning Division hopes this process will serve as a blueprint for future studies of the opportunities and challenges facing other neighborhoods within the community.

Any prospective plans to preserve and strengthen the River Ridge/Kingsdale West district that may result from the study will be reflective of extensive input received from the residents who live in these neighborhoods. To that end, we invite all residents to be part of a collaborative process that celebrates the neighborhood’s history and makeup, considers any issues that may pose a threat to its continued desirability, and develops options for strengthening the area for the decades ahead.

A Neighborhood Character Workshop has been scheduled for 7 p.m., on Thursday, November 16 at Wickliffe Elementary School, 2405 Wickliffe Road. Anyone who is interested in the future of this neighborhood is encouraged to attend to share their thoughts and ideas. The meeting will be highly interactive with opportunities to work in small groups to share ideas about strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in the area.

A Neighborhood Choices Workshop is scheduled for the same time and location on Wednesday, December 6. This workshop will focus on a discussion of alternative approaches to shaping the future character of the area.

At different points along the way, a series of online surveys will also be made available to provide an alternate means to weigh in on the process.

Once all the data has been collected and reviewed by the Planning NEXT experts, watch for presentations of the findings and recommendations early in the New Year.

I look forward to seeing this process unfold, and for a resulting framework that helps us keep the River Ridge/Kingsdale District a strong and successful neighborhood. Click here for additional details.