Hudson -- City Council members could vote on a Brandywine Creek Watershed Balanced Growth Plan by Feb. 19, giving residents opportunities for input during Council meetings.

Community Development Director Mark Richardson said the project -- a plan to designate development and conservation areas along Brandywine Creek -- has been around since 2007, but last year a committee of 36 members from the nine watershed communities was formed to update and finalize the plan.

Communities in the watershed have created a Balanced Growth Plan for the Brandywine Creek Watershed that a majority of the communities must support with a resolution and then submit to the state by May for approval.

The Brandywine Creek watershed covers approximately 26 square miles and drains portions of nine communities. The number of each community's representatives was based on the percentage of the watershed in the community. Hudson and Macedonia each have six representatives. The village of Boston Heights and Northfield Center Township each have four representatives. Oakwood Village and the village of Northfield each have three representatives, and Boston Township, Sagamore Hills Township, Twinsburg Township, Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Metroparks Serving Summit County each have two representatives.

Council member Dennis Hanink, who is on the committee, said Macedonia and Boston Heights have approved the plan.

If the state approves the plan, it will offer technical advice and financial incentives to implement elements of the plan.

"It's a concept document that promotes best practices," Hanink said. "It gives the city access to other resources to help us do what we're already doing."

The goal of the Balanced Growth Plan is to protect and restore Lake Erie and its watersheds while supporting sustainable economic development.

Although 70 percent of the watershed remains undeveloped, the majority of Brandywine Creek does not meet Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's water quality standard, and the phosphorous levels just downstream of Hudson remains high, according to the Brandywine Creek Watershed Balanced Growth Plan information sheet.

The watershed plan is a reminder about environmentally sensitive areas and addresses restrictions, Richardson said.

The Hudson Land Development Code has 10 broad areas of environmental practices to cover streams, wetlands, floodplains, banks, steep slopes, tree canopy, etc. and the watershed plan won't impact it, he said.

"Every development is examined for its environmental impact," Richardson said. "The plan doesn't restrict more than the code does now."

The code applies to all watersheds in the city, Richardson added.

The document lays out how to be good stewards of the watershed, said Council President Hal DeSaussure.

Future development would be based on the city's Land Development Code and not the document, DeSaussure added.


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