Bellbrook looks to spur economic growth with updated city plan

City of Bellbrook will update its comprehensive plan as it looks toward future development. TREMAYNE HOGUE / HOGUE

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City of Bellbrook will update its comprehensive plan as it looks toward future development. TREMAYNE HOGUE / HOGUE

The city of Bellbrook has contracted with the Regional Planning and Coordinating Commission of Greene County to update the city’s comprehensive plan—the first time they’ve done so in over 40 years.

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City manager Mark Schlagheck said the updated plan will be aimed at “growth and expansion,” while noting that room for development is limited.

“We’re landlocked,” Schlagheck said. “There is still some room to grow within Bellbrook. There are some opportunities to grow and this comprehensive plan is intended to guide us when those opportunities arise.”

The focal point of improvements to the city’s plan include the state Route 725/Franklin Street corridor, walkability within the city as well as updates to existing neighborhoods.

Opportunities may be limited but there are some, depending on whether a landowner would be willing to sell their property for the purpose of redevelopment, according to Ken LeBlanc, Executive Director of the RPCC.

Aside from buying land, growth within the city would also have to come from retrofitting developments that are already there, according to LeBlanc.

MORE: Things to know about Bellbrook history

One other area of focus for the RPCC is Bellbrook’s Historic Old Village Area.

Bellbrook’s downtown allows for a mix of properties, including city offices, local businesses and homes, which LeBlanc said will help in their goals to make the city more attractive.

“There’s a lot of potential there,” LeBlanc said. “They want to see how they make it a better gathering place, spurring more businesses while keeping their old village charm.”

Bellbrook entered an agreement with the RPCC for $21,800 in February for the purpose of updating the city’s comprehensive plan. The updated plan will use input from city staff and boards as well as from residents and business.

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A walkable community workshop will be held April, where residents and business owners work with city officials on ideas for downtown and ways it could be improved. LeBlanc said the workshop will be the first step in a lengthy process of modernizing the plans.

RPCC staff members will hold up to 10 meetings with the city’s planning board over an 18-month period in developing the updated plan.

Another workshop is tentatively scheduled for April 12.

The city’s comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 1974, serves as Bellbrook’s decision-making guide for land use, development, preservation and capital improvement programming. The new plan will stretch through 2030.

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