Austin Boulevard drove millions in new development; township drawing blueprint for next growth

The future of area in and around Austin Landing is just one part of Miami Twp.'s efforts to create a new comprehensive plan, the community's first since 2006. Township officials say they continue to seek public input before completing the plan early next year. STAFF FILE PHOTO
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The future of area in and around Austin Landing is just one part of Miami Twp.'s efforts to create a new comprehensive plan, the community's first since 2006. Township officials say they continue to seek public input before completing the plan early next year. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Miami Twp. looking for input from residents on new plan.

Miami Twp.’s 49-page comprehensive plan has been a “blueprint” for development that topped more than $200 million in the first half of the last decade after the opening of the Austin Boulevard interchange, and tens of millions since, records show.

The problem is that plan is 14 years old.

Miami Twp. officials are working to wrap up the community’s first Comprehensive Plan since 2006 and are looking for further resident input before doing so. The township says the plan is “a blueprint for development and growth of the community and enhancement of quality of life elements to better guide change in the township.”

Trustee President John Morris said it is important to carry out such an update process every several years.

“In my life, my career, my leadership of Miami Twp., I have chosen to live by the phrase ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,’” Morris told this news outlet. “A strategic or comprehensive community plan works to craft the current vision of the community. Once completed it serves as a tool for the community and its leaders to set goals and focus resources.”

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These plans, once created, should not be static, he said, “but rather living documents, continuously evolving.”

“It has been far too long since our last plan was updated,” Morris said. “As time passes, variables change.” That, he said, includes demographic and market changes, business opening and closings, new technologies.

“Our strategies and tactics need to reflect these new realities,” Morris said.

Input from residents is an important part of the process, he said.

“Township government and leadership exists to service and provide to the wants of the community,” Morris said. “To write a comprehensive community plan without seeking resident input would not be smart, productive, or achieve satisfactory results.

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Public input, including that of residents, businesses and visitors, helps to either validate previous assumptions or to create new goals that weren’t previously considered, he said.

Besides 2006, other revisions to the comprehensive plan were completed in 1981 and 1990. Work on the next plan officially started in September 2019.

As part of the public participation effort by the township, a steering committee made up of approximately 30 residents, business owners and other representatives of religious and school organizations, have met to discuss topics related to the plan and its process.

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Miami Twp. held numerous open houses before the pandemic slowed the process. Completion of the plan is anticipated by early next year.

“Unfortunately, we can’t hold in-person open houses at this time, but we’re still working to gather feedback,” he said. “We’ll continue to put out surveys and request information from residents.”

To view land use maps related to the plan and respond to surveys, visit www.planmiamitownship.com.