Commercial corridor in Richfield’s updated comprehensive plan

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News 

June 28, 2014

RICHFIELD - After months of work and hours of meetings, Richfield village officials have completed and approved a revised 20-year comprehensive plan.

Interim Village Administrator Jim Healy said it took village officials almost a year to complete.

“There were some minor changes, but the plan really covers the future landscape of the community,” Healy said. “A lot of the 2004 plan was still good, but we had to make some updates. The village wants the northeast corner to serve as the village’s commercial corridor.”

Healy said the corridor runs roughly north of Highway 167 to Pioneer Road with virtually everything east of Highway 175 and east of Mayfield included. There are also some small pockets of single-family residential zoning in that area.

Healy said single-family residential properties dominate the majority of the village’s zoning. “There’s only a small percentage of property zoned for commercial use in the village,” Healy said. “In 2013, we completed a study of that corridor and it indicated the best use of the property to generate the maximum amount of property taxes and to help offset the taxes of the areas zoned for single family residential would be commercial zoning. Commercial use of those properties provides less of a drain on village services. The doors at those businesses close at 5 p.m. and businesses don’t send children to school.”

State law requires comprehensive plans to be updated by local governments at least every 10 years. County and local governments may choose to update the plan more frequently.

Often, because of the amount of time required to complete the state-required plan, local governments hire a consulting company. Richfield officials decided to save money and tackle the work themselves.

“By not using a consultant the village was able to save about $20,000,” Healy said. “But it took a lot of time and we held a lot of meetings to get that accomplished. It’s a real feather in the administration’s cap to be able to complete this ourselves and save valuable tax dollars.”

“State law requires at least nine elements be addressed in a comprehensive plan,” said Debora Sielski, Washington County Planning and Parks Department deputy administrator.

Those elements include:

■ Issues and opportunities.

■ Housing.

■ Transportation.

■ Utilities and community facilities.

■ Agricultural, natural and cultural resources.

■ Economic development.

■ Intergovernmental cooperation.

■ Land use.

■ Implementation.

Sielski said Washington County adopted the countywide comprehensive plan in April 2008.

“I’m going to start coordinating the start of updating that plan in 2015,” Sielski said. “It must be approved by the County Board by April 2018.”

Sielski said each local government that completes a comprehensive plan must provide copies to the four adjacent municipal governments which includes the county.

“The count will incorporate Richfield’s land use plan unchanged when changes are made in the county’s comprehensive plan,” Sielski said.