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Executive Summary Update to Comprehensive Plan - Year Seven

After extensive input from the community, the Board of Trustees in July 2010 adopted a comprehensive plan laying out goals for our community and objectives by which to accomplish them. We – including our administration, staff, employees, and appointed board members – use them as the guiding principles behind the decisions that we make on a daily basis. The comprehensive plan highlights the community’s future intentions, but it also assists the Township by serving as a guide for the overall growth and redevelopment for residents, businesses, and public officials; serving as a basis for administering the zoning resolution and for making reasonable decisions on development and rezoning applications; promoting innovative, sustainable, and green development and redevelopment practices; ensuring the continuity of long-range economic development, planning, and capital improvement policies and programs; assisting the Township in applying for state and federal grant programs; preserving the aesthetic and natural character of Howland Township; and promoting the safety, prosperity, health, morals, and aesthetics of our residents.

Click Read More for links to the official updates! Year Seven Update Available Now!

YEAR SEVEN: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Many people are rightly cynical about their governments. Too often elected officials make grand theater out of plans and blueprints for the future put together by expensive consultants or blue-ribbon citizens committees. And then nothing more is made of it, until a new plan is rolled out a few years later with more bluster and fanfare. The cycle repeats.

Not in Howland Township. Our residents expect better, and with this fourth update, we show them that their elected officials and township employees have made good on their promise in 2010 to rely on the comprehensive plan in their daily decision-making and as they work to accomplish the lofty goals and objectives set out in it. We are proud that, as you will see in the following pages, that these goals have become ingrained in every department.

Our residents – and our fellow citizens in the Mahoning Valley – want their government officials to do everything that they can to keep good-paying jobs here and to attract new ones. They often see those same government officials tout their efforts to go after the large-scale projects that can change an area’s economy in one fell swoop. The GM Lordstown complex is one example. But, as we all have learned, it is the small business that is the backbone of our economy. Local governments have some ability to help create the environment for these small businesses to succeed, particularly with the physical infrastructure upon which those businesses rely.

Without the fanfares and flourishes, Howland Township has quietly been doing its part to drive economic development in areas over which we control. That means working with our neighbors and other government entities to address the concerns that have been brought to our attention by the successful business that call Howland and Warren home. In the Golden Triangle, for example, a 687-acre industrial area mostly within our borders, this work has taken many years of meetings, surveys, and conversations with the owners and operators of the 30 businesses there who employ nearly 3,000 people. As noted in our last update, these efforts and collaborations led to a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to hire the engineers and experts to help us create an infrastructure improvement plan to address the issues raised by the Golden Triangle business through $10-million worth of projects.[1] This update highlights how we and our partners have worked to find the funds to make these improvements. The comprehensive plan is a critical component of the grant applications to show the funding agencies that the proposal is part of our vision.

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project is another example of a multi-year collaborative effort, this time with the Howland Local School District to improve pedestrian safety around our schools. Parents and guardians were surveyed in several schools. From those, the high school and middle were selected for the program. Additional meetings were held. Engineering surveys of the areas around these schools were done. And then a grant was secured to make nearly $400,000 in infrastructure improvements at the intersections of East Market Street with Brewster and Willow drives. That project was finished last year. Everyone who uses these community facilities in the center of our township now benefits.

It may not be flashy, but it is demonstrable progress. And that is possible because Howland Township, unlike many other communities, has a planning department to focus on these long-term projects and to be ready for the future when it comes, not to be reactive and hope for the best. Our residents expect nothing less from us: that’s why they live here.                                                                          

But the comprehensive plan is not just about economic development. It is about working towards a greater vision for our community. Our residents told us they wanted Howland to be a more walkable community: they want the ability to safely exercise or to get places without using a vehicle. So it appears in our comprehensive plan. Since the last update, it is been included in our zoning resolution: all new development along State Route 46, East Market Street, and North River Road must have a sidewalk. And when ODOT plans the future of its road network in the township, it looks to – and is guided by – the comprehensive plan.

We now see the fruits of that planning, as Mercy Health has installed the first sidewalks along 46 in Howland in front of their new hospital and medical center. The new Lidl grocery store will be the first development south of the 82 bypass to have sidewalks. Both of these developments, as well as the new Fastenal, Chic-fil-A, and Dollar General properties, about which we have received many positive comments from you, highlight the new features in our zoning resolution that found their genesis in the comprehensive plan, such as alternative parking lots and improved aesthetics and stormwater management.

This is the fourth update to show you how these lofty goals manifest themselves. Each project, policy, or program is described on the left-hand side of the accompanying tables, and, on the right, you will see a mark indicating how that project, policy, or program addresses one or more of the various categories. This is our checklist to see how we are doing and to ensure that we are continuously marching towards those goals.

The comprehensive plan is a living document and not a punch list. We strive to be a strong, forward-thinking community and the best-run township in Trumbull County, operating in a professional, transparent manner. We encourage you to read this update – together with the previous ones – to get the full picture of where your Township is headed.

Your township trustees,

Rick G. Clark                             Dr. James J. LaPolla, Jr.                                   Matthew G. Vansuch

September 26, 2017



[1] The plan is available on the township’s website at http://www.howlandtownship.org/golden-triangle-infrastructure-plan.

 

We encourage you to read these updates to get the full picture of where your Township is headed.

Howland Township's Comprehensive Plan:

The Plan
Year One Update Presentation
Year One Update Detailed Summary
Year Three Howland Township Comprehensive Plan Goals and Objectives
Year Five Howland Township Comprehensive Plan Goals and Objectives
Year Seven Howland Township Comprehensive Plan Goals and Objectives *New