Hermitage city officials wanted to give city commissioners ample time to review the proposed Hermitage Comprehensive Plan.
That's why officials presented the plan on Feb. 27, even though they are not proposing it be adopted until June.
There's a lot to review – it's 102 pages long!
The city last adopted a comprehensive plan in 1993. While there have been several smaller-focus plans conducted since then, “we're somewhat overdue to revisit it,” said Marcia Hirschmann, city director of planning and development at the Feb. 27 commissioners meeting, when the plan was presented to the commissioners.
The planning process began in the fall of 2017 with the hiring of Mackin Engineering Co., Pittsburgh, as the plan consultant, and the appointment of a 25-member steering committee to help develop the plan.
Officials met with a variety of citizen groups (seniors, high school students, developers and medical professionals among them); conducted a survey that generated 400 responses; and created the Hermitage2030.com web site to facilitate information being passed to citizens and comments back to city officials.
The draft plan sets goals of creating a vibrant city center, maintaining prosperous neighborhoods, working toward improving the health of the residents, helping promote the already prosperous economy and developing complete corridors that make sure city streets are conducive to walking and biking.
The plan also looks at current land use, identifies “character areas” based on land use, and seeks to maintain those character areas by preserving rural aspects where they exist, promoting the health of neighborhoods and allowing flexibility of use within zoning districts.
“The city is still consuming more land,” said Amy Wiles, lead senior planner with Mackin, and needs to ensure that these uses are sustainable and meet future needs.
The plan, if adopted, would not be legislation, but would guide officials in amending the zoning ordinance and setting development standards, Hirschmann said.
“It's just a guide and a vision,” she said.
The commissioners offered no comments or questions, but they have been involved in the process by attending planning meetings, listening to the issues raised by participants and asking for feedback on specific issues.
The proposed adoption schedule, which is based on state law, is:
- Send a the plan to Mercer County, Hermitage School District and contiguous municipalities for comment, March 29.
- Hold a 45-day comment period in which the plan would be available and anyone interested can respond, April 1-May 17.
- Hold a public hearing hosted by the city commissioners, June 20.
- Commissioners adopt the plan, June 26.