Brandywine Creek plans flow again in Hudson

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- Plans to designate development and conservation areas along Brandywine Creek stagnated after a 2007 launch but have begun to flow once again.

Communities must create a Balanced Growth Plan for Brandywine Creek watershed and submit it to the state for endorsement by the end of November.

The city of Hudson agreed to participate in the plan in 2007 and asked Council July 9 to authorize participation with other communities in the Brandywine watershed to complete the plan.

Community Development Director Mark Richardson reminded Council members the project still existed.

"There is a push now to get the plan finished and approved," Richardson said. "Hudson is seen as a leader in these efforts."

Council member Dennis Hanink said the 2010 draft plan could be completed in a couple of meetings and sent to the state. He said the plans stalled because of a change of leadership for the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan.

"It's a thoughtful approach to property rights and environmental issues," Hanink said. "What is the best place to develop and the best place to conserve" along the Brandywine Creek watershed.

Because Hudson has already designated wetlands and conservation areas, the impact of the plan would be minimal, Hanink said. Other communities with plans to develop areas that could be designated for conservation, could be impacted.

Council President David Basil wanted the document reviewed by the city solicitor to know how it would impact city control.

"My understanding is it is just a guiding document for our community," Hanink said.

The report identifies priority areas of development and conservation, Richardson said.

The Brandywine Creek watershed covers approximately 26 square miles and drains portions of nine communities. The number of each community's representatives is based on the percentage of the watershed in the community. Hudson and Macedonia both have six representatives. 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 for a total of 36 members to work on the plan.

The group will identify priority conservation and development areas for the watershed and submit a preliminary plan to the state for review. A final plan must be submitted to the state by May 2014.

Council could choose its six representatives July 17 to be part of the Brandywine Creek Watershed Partners. The Hudson representatives would keep Council and the planning Commission updated on the progress of the plan.

Once the Brandywine Creek Balanced Growth Plan is completed and endorsed by the State of Ohio, communities can utilize 26 state programs to help implement the plan.

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

Although 70 percent of the watershed remains undeveloped there are major concerns about loss of wetlands, forest canopy and natural areas, which help filter and clean water.

The majority of Brandywine Creek does not meet Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's water quality standard and the phosphorous levels just downstream of Hudson remain high.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record PublishingTwitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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