By Linda Crombie
The Geauga County Planning Commission is a government body given power under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 713.22 and was first established Jan. 1, 1957 by the Board of County Commissioners of Geauga County. The Commission consists of eleven members: three (3) County Commissioners and eight (8) appointed citizen members. The Planning Commission officers are Charles Stevens (Chairman), Caterina Cocca-Fulton (Vice-Chair) and Gary Neola (Secretary/Treasurer). Commission members serve three (3) year terms.
The Commission’s staff has changed over the years with as many as four full time employees and as few as two. Maria Palmisano was hired in March 2018 to perform administrative and planning duties after Karen Baptie’s retirement. The former Planning Director, David Dietrich, retired at the end of 2018 and Linda Crombie was hired in June 2019 as the new director.
The Commission’s primary responsibilities include the following: Review various types of lot split proposals and major subdivisions per the Geauga County Subdivision Regulations; provide advice and recommendations to townships regarding proposed amendments to their zoning resolution and/or zoning map; prepare and implement the county land use plan and provide census data.
The Planning Commission prepares plans, studies, maps, recommendations, and reports on various topics such as land use, transportation and communication systems, farmland, and natural resources. The overall goal is to serve the public interest and protect quality of life through managed growth. Assisting the townships with their zoning resolutions, zoning maps, and land use plans is one of the Commission’s ongoing successes.
Many of the daily duties involve staff administering the County Subdivision Regulations when residents wish to split or combine properties, as well as when larger scale subdivisions are proposed. This requires a coordinated and thorough review effort by state, county, township, and other offices to ensure subdivision development proposals comply with various regulations. During the course of this work, the staff regularly interacts with land owners as well as offices and departments including the County Engineer’s Tax Map Department, County Auditor, County Health Department, Water Resources, Soil and Water Conservation District, Prosecutor, township officials, surveyors, attorneys, and title companies.
The Commission is also in charge of the Geauga County General Plan that contains data and maps on many topics including demographics, housing, transportation, and utilities. The Plan is an educational resource tool and provides guidance regarding public decisions that must be made related to development within the unincorporated areas (townships) of the county.
The Commission is in the process of updating the Geauga County General Plan, which includes a Community Survey. Geauga County residents are encouraged to complete the survey, which can be accessed at https://www.co.geauga.oh.us/Departments/Planning-Commission .
Public input is a crucial portion of the update and responses can be submitted through the end of July 2020. The Planning Commission is at 470 Center St., Building #1-C, in Chardon. Director Linda Crombie can be reached at 440-279-1740 or by email at email@example.com.