As most LoGro readers probably know, the new Comprehensive Plan is finally done and was adopted by the City Council last month.
The Land Development Code Advisory Group is now reviewing Northfield’s new draft ordinances, which are/were being written concurrently with the Comp Plan by the consultant from ACP Visioning & Planning of Columbus, OH. The advisory group met twice in November and will be meeting at least twice this month as well. The LDC Advisory Group consists of several city staffers, members of boards and commissions, a City Council rep, and volunteer experts representing architects, engineers, builders, developers, environmental groups, and others.
The first draft of the new code contained language pertaining to “city-recognized neighborhood associations”. At the first November meeting, I brought up the question of what neighborhood associations the city currently recognizes, and the answer was: None. There’s also no process yet for officially recognizing such groups, so that needs to be addressed too.
For example, the part of the LDC draft says,
. . . the applicant may be required to meet with property owners and any city-recognized neighborhood association within 350 feet of the proposed property prior to submitting their application in order to solicit input and exchange information about the proposed development.
This draft text was specific to a particular level and complexity of development – not EVERY proposed change to the built environment – but it illustrates my question: What neighborhood associations are recognized, and/or how do they become so?
According to state law, neighborhood associations must have defined boundaries; the City hasn’t yet determined any further criteria, or, for example, what to do if there are two associations vying for recognition of the same area (not a very likely scenario, but still).
So….. what can citizens do? The first constructive step would be to take whatever nucleus of neighborhood groups currently exist, and try to define boundaries. Naming neighborhoods is something that I’ve long thought would be beneficial to Northfield for many reasons. (“Neighborhoods, NOT subdivisions!”)
The only organized neighborhood association I know of is the one in my area, the Northfield East Side Neighborhood Association. I’m sure there must be others – if you know of one, please comment (and provide a link if possible). I would hope that each association or neighborhood group would stake their turf in cyberspace, too; with all the free hosting of blogs available at blogger.com, wordpress.com et al, there’s no reason not to, and it makes communication and dissemination of information much more streamlined.