Dennis Miller, executive director of the Maumee Valley Planning Organization, said a new Fulton County comprehensive plan currently in the works will try to mediate conflicts between rural and urban interests.
As an example, Miller pointed to the conflict that developed between German Township residents and village of Archbold officials during the development of a proposal to reroute St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24.
Planning for a potential upgrade of Co. Rd. 24 dates back to 2011. A full plan was developed, with a price tag shy of $50 million.
The project was eventually dropped in 2018.
Miller said in preparing the comprehensive plan, input will be gathered from the sides of the rural-vs.-urban development debate.
The plan will attempt to moderate any conflicts that arise by attempting to jointly plan for future development.
“We will work with people to help them understand their common interests,” Miller said.
The last comprehensive plan for Fulton County was completed around 2000.
The new plan will update that roughly 20-year-old version.
In updating the plan, Miller said planners at MVPO will look at development trends and demographic changes within the communities.
Planners will seek out public input through a series of outreach meetings around the county.
One meeting is Monday, May 13, 6 pm, at the Archbold Community Library.
“The main issue in the county is the conflict between those who wish to maintain the county’s rural character, and urban development,” Miller said.
In the earlier plan, growth was restricted to Urban Growth Zones. The growth zones were clustered around communities where services such as municipal water and wastewater treatment are available.
As an example of where Urban Growth Zones worked as planned, Miller pointed to development west of Delta, including the NatureFresh greenhouse, Metal-X scrap metal processing, and Fulton County Processing, which treats steel manufactured at the Northstar-BHP Steel Mill.
Miller said not all growth can be stifled. As an example, he pointed to housing development in northeastern Fulton County.
That development essentially followed the installation of a county-operated water distribution system.
That’s not all bad, he said, because the development occurred where municipal water service was available.
Miller said plans call for the new comprehensive plan to be completed by the end of 2019.
Once complete, he said, there will be meetings to detail the results to both county leaders and the general public.
MVPO is a regional planning organization, providing planning services to entities in a five-county (Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Paulding, Williams) area.
Among the services it provides are transportation planning, community development planning, housing, and preparing and administering state and federal grants.
The non-profit organization has a 15-member board of directors made up of government representatives from the area.
Miller said 95% of MVPO funding is from fees for services. Of those fees, the lion’s share is from administering grants.
MVPO has a staff of about 10 persons and a budget of roughly $1 million a year, he said.