Trumbull County to Update Warren’s Land Plan

WARREN, Ohio – An updated comprehensive land use plan for Warren will improve the city’s economic development efforts and boost its chances of securing grants for projects, Mayor Doug Franklin said.

During a news conference in the Trumbull County Board of Commissioners’ meeting room, Franklin and county officials announced that the Trumbull County Planning Commission would undertake the planning effort on the city’s behalf.

“This is a true plan of growth for the future,” Franklin said.

The scope of work will include creation of a new comprehensive land use plan to replace the old Warren General Plan, which was created in 1960, Mauro Cantalamessa, president of the Trumbull County Board of Commissioners, said. The work will also include a bonus review of the current zoning ordinance and a future land use map.

“A strong urban core and strong county seat benefits all of Trumbull County,” Cantalamessa said. “This will provide the city with a refreshed blueprint for potential growth and development for years to come.”

Developers and investors who are interested in doing a project in the city want to know what zoning is in place for various uses, and often the city needs to acquire a variance, which can be a “cumbersome” process, the mayor said. Sometimes the developers go to another community if what they need isn’t already in place.

“We’ve been able to work around that but it’s nice to have those things in place,” Franklin said.

And, when applying for grants, its important to have a comprehensive plan in place to support requests related to specific projects, he said.

“If a project is listed in the plan, is listed specifically by name, you can get a different set-off points for your grant,” he said.

The planning department will perform the work over three years, with a planned completion date of May 2019, said Trish Nuskievicz, the commission’s director.

“We’ll start off with a survey that goes out. We want as much public input as we can get. That’s just a crucial part of the planning process,” she said.

The city will pay the planning commission $33,000 annually for three years for the work, “a fraction of the cost” the city would have incurred had it utilized the services of a private-sector consultant, Franklin said.

“And that’s one thing about it. I know where the Trumbull County Planning Commission is. I can walk to their office. They’re not going anywhere,” he added.

“Part of the reason we broke it into three years is just to make it affordable to the city,” Nuskievicz said. “We try and work with our communities just to make it a little easier for them to afford this.”

The planning commission is working on comprehensive plans for the city of Girard as well as Braceville and Hubbard townships, Nuskievicz said. She acknowledged that the work for the city will be “much more complicated, especially when you’re looking at every aspect of the community and when you’re looking at a much larger community that offers so many more services as a city versus a township.”

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