AURORA — The city’s updated master plan will be in effect until the next review in five years.

Approval of the plan, given by City Council Feb. 26, culminated a nearly one-year review process by a master plan review committee, the planning commission and City Council.

"I think the city staff and consultants did a terrific job putting together the master plan, and answered all of our questions," said Councilman Jim Vaca. "I don’t think there’s much more we can do with it [the plan] other than approve it."

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin added, "I want to thank our consulting firm — Envision — which worked hard on the plan and took everyone’s suggestions, including yours [Council’s], very seriously."

Four non-prioritized themes emerged as areas of emphasis during the process. They are historic preservation, connectivity and infrastructure, parks and recreation and economic development.

A detailed toolkit for the four identified themes was provided describing relevant programs, funding sources and incentives that may be utilized to facilitate implementation of plan recommendations.

While the master plan update emphasizes mixed-use development in the Geauga Lake area, an addendum places emphasis also along the Route 43 corridor between Bissell and Treat roads, and the north side of Route 82 between Route 43 and Bissell.

It also stresses the industrial area between East Mennonite Road and the southern city limits should continue to be a prime location for economic development since there is vacant land available.

Council wanted the importance of infrastructure to be stressed more in the master plan, and believes continued replacement and maintenance of aging water lines are crucial.

"Maintenance and expansion of the water treatment facilities also is vital, and stormwater control and roadway improvements should continue to be priorities," an addendum reads.

Under "land use and zoning," recommendations include expanding areas where high technology, sustainable uses are permitted and promoting green building practices.

Also recommended are updating the landmark commission’s inventory of historic structures and working with the historical society and landmark commission to support and promote historic preservation.

Another recommendation is to ensure that development and redevelopment foster continuation of a quaint community that preserves the semi-rural character of the city.

Under "housing," Council recommends the city develop a housing code for residential rental properties and an exterior maintenance code.

Another addendum focuses on preserving and maintaining Aurora’s cemeteries and studying recreational amenities such as tennis and basketball courts in addition to moving forward with a feasibility study for a community center.

Other considerations listed in an addendum are placement and relocation of traffic signals, enhancing connectivity between the Geauga Lake area and Town Center and improving street lighting on Sherwood, Robinhood and Sussex drives and the curve on Route 306 north of Treat Road.

"In addition, consideration should be given to conducting a traffic study along East Boulevard," the addendum recommends.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 ext. 4189 or