Warren County Regional Planning Commission Header

Warren County Comprehensive Plan Elements

Land Use Housing Parks & Open Space
Capital Improvements Programming Economic Development Transportation

Adoption Resolution

The following Goals (broad brush statements of intention), Objectives (specific ends or actions) and Policies (measurable outcomes to guide decisions) are based in large part upon input received at the Land Use Plan Update Committee meetings, which included valid expressions of public interest and concern for sound land use planning in the unincorporated areas (townships).

Related to the Natural Environment

Goal: Protect water resources, wetlands, floodplains and woodlands, balancing environmental values and the built environment.

Objective: Direct development to areas of minimum environmental sensitivity--protecting wetlands, floodway, steep slopes and wildlife habitat. These areas shall have a "protection area" designation on future land use mapping.


  • Intense development should be discouraged in areas sloped greater than 12 percent, as identified in the Soil Survey of Warren County, Ohio.
  • Areas designated as floodway by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shall remain undeveloped.
  • Hydric soils, as identified by the Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District through the development review process, shall be protected or appropriately mitigated.
  • Encourage the dedication of conservation easements to protect mature vegetation and maintain existing wildlife corridors outside minimum building setbacks (i.e., building envelope).
  • Implement a tree replacement policy (e.g., for every mature tree eliminated through the development process, two (2) of selected species should be planted).

Objective: Manage water resources, both water quality and water quantity, especially through a program of improved stormwater management.


  • Identify the location of aquifers, aquifer recharge areas and public water wells. Define one (1) and five (5) year time of travel boundaries. Enforce wellhead and well field protection regulations.
  • Prudently manage land uses in unsewered development over aquifers. Residential development in such areas should not exceed 0.2 dwelling units per acre (i.e., 5.0 acre minimum). Non-residential uses shall be subject to wellhead and well field protection regulations.
  • There should be no net loss of stormwater storage capacity within the 100 and 500-year frequency flood plain.
  • Ensure appropriate setbacks in riparian areas through the dedication of private drainage easements, allowing stream channels to naturally meander over time.
  • Coordinate with the Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District to encourage best practices for stormwater management, including bio-retention, wetland pre-treatment and/or extended detention.
  • Require compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permitting process administered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA).
  • Encourage and participate in watershed studies undertaken by the Warren County Engineer.
  • Encourage backyard rain gardens for voluntary application by homeowners (patios and selected landscaping can provide important incremental water quality benefits).

Goal: Provide a broad choice of multi-use recreational opportunities, available to all citizens.

Objective: Preserve open space, both passive and active, sufficient for future needs.


  • Implement the recommendations of the Warren County Parks & Open Space Plan.
  • Proactively initiate informal discussions with property owners of key parcels concerning protection of these important lands.
  • Encourage the formation of a local land trust to intensify private-oriented efforts for open space conservation and land stewardship.
  • Continue to coordinate with Little Miami, Inc. and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) in their efforts to preserve the Little Miami Scenic River and with the Miami Conservancy District regarding the Great Miami River.
  • Create open space corridors by connecting such uses, utilizing multi-use (pedestrian, bike, equestrian, etc.) trails (improved and/or unimproved) along rights-of-way or streams.

Goal: Air quality that is not harmful or offensive to the natural or man-made environment.

Objective: Encourage the improvement and maintenance of air quality at levels necessary to protect the public health and welfare of the citizens.


  • Consider the impact on air quality of land use decisions.
  • Advise agencies responsible for establishing and enforcing air quality standards of actions which may adversely impact air quality.
  • Support the establishment and enforcement of minimal air quality standards.
  • Work with neighboring jurisdictions to reduce air pollution.
  • Encourage compact, transit-oriented development (TOD) patterns within urban service areas.
  • Coordinate with the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments to encourage automobile trip reduction strategies.
Related to the Man-Made Environment

Goal: Establish a balance between development and growth management, maintaining the desired community character.

Objective: Modify development regulations to assure the retention of rural character outside established urban service areas.


  • Encourage types of residential development which by their nature incorporate the preservation of private or public open space. Common labels include conservation design, cluster option, rural by design, livable landscapes, equestrian or estate subdivision, etc.
  • Encourage the protection and perpetuation of rural icons (e.g., barns, homes surrounded by open space, fence rows, etc.) and density, through a rural density minimum lot size (2.0 acres under current zoning), contributing to the quality of life. Adopt appropriate incentives to encourage conservation development, with a lot size reduction of no less than that recommended by the Warren County Combined Health District (currently 1.25 acres).
  • Identify and retain scenic views, such as hills and rolling fields through bequests, purchase of development rights, agricultural easements or acquisition.
  • Encourage the retention of large, contiguous agricultural holdings to maintain a rural sense of place and appearance from public rights-of-way, through bequests, purchase of development rights, agricultural easements or acquisition.
  • Maintain a future road system that can retain a two (2) lane typical cross section between intersections, appropriate to the anticipated rural density.
  • To prevent the proliferation of unsightly off-premises signage (i.e., billboards), explore Scenic Highway status through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) along State and Federal routes warranting such consideration.

Objective: Encourage land use intensity within established urban service areas.


  • Promote a unified physical identity for established unincorporated communities (e.g., Hunter, Franklin Township), providing roadway connectivity, crosswalks and pedestrian access between land uses.
  • Provide a gradual transition in intensity of land use between urban (sewered) and rural (unsewered) areas. Consideration of this desirable transition should begin wherever possible prior to the actual urban service boundary.
  • Provide "gateway" identity treatment features at appropriate locations (i.e., township boundaries along major thoroughfares).

Goal: A pattern of land use capable of serving and meeting the social, economic and environmental needs of residents and local institutions.

Objective: Encourage the sensible development of residential areas with housing types and densities to meet the needs of residents--ensuring that a healthy, safe and attractive environment is maintained.


  • Discourage small isolated subdivisions where soil conditions and lot size are not conducive to on-site wastewater disposal systems, where applicable. Encourage connection to sanitary sewer for on-site wastewater disposal systems determined to be failing by the Warren County Combined Health District.
  • Encourage a logical pattern of residential development within the established urban service areas, including the prudent use of the planned unit development (PUD) zoning process, to accomplish quality development.
  • To provide balanced housing opportunities, encourage owner-occupied multi-family housing at appropriate locations within established urban service areas. Such housing should be built at a scale to accommodate the need (nationwide data indicates that this land use should not exceed 14 percent of the total housing stock).
  • Provide a strong emphasis to establish open space greenbelt areas, separating developing residential areas from potentially incompatible uses (this includes agriculture).
  • A system to encourage housing maintenance should be established, through a coordinated, ongoing inspection program.
  • Encourage the repair or removal of dilapidated/substandard structures.
  • Older homes or residential areas of historical and/or architectural significance should be identified, documented and protected from unwanted, incompatible land uses.
  • Negotiate voluntary donations of land and/or funding to public school districts through development review. Explore the imposition of impact fees or other alternative sources of funding.

Objective: Establish areas of commercial activity, ensuring a convenient, safe and pleasant environment in meeting the retail and business needs of residents, workers and travelers.


  • Encourage the establishment of sufficient commercial activities to provide a sustainable local economy to the extent possible (current nationwide data indicates that commercial land uses typically comprise approximately 10 percent of overall land use).
  • Commercial growth should equate to what the market will bear. Over-commercialization should be avoided.
  • Avoid strip commercial development and "spot zoning" for such uses.
  • Promote road and/or common access easement connectivity between commercial uses to ensure adequate capacity of adjoining roads.
  • Encourage the establishment of parking maximums (as opposed to parking minimums) via zoning regulations.
  • Encourage mixed-uses within established urban service areas to promote a pedestrian environment.
  • Discourage the conversion of lands designated as commercial to non-commercial uses.

Objective: Encourage quality light and high-tech industrial development, necessary to overall economic growth and stability.


  • Support the allocation of an adequate supply of suitable land to accommodate a range of environmentally-friendly industrial uses (current nationwide data indicates that industrial land uses typically comprise approximately 7 percent of overall land use).
  • Adequate soil conditions, topography, water and wastewater disposal, transportation and public facilities should be available to serve industrial sites.
  • Industrial park (campus style) concepts should be used in promoting and attracting new industry, in conjunction with individual industrial sites. Encourage accessible commercial activities in support of such industrial uses.
  • Promote a multi-modal transportation network with adequate levels of service to support such industrial uses, emphasizing rail access.
  • Encourage the establishment of parking maximums (as opposed to parking minimums) via zoning regulations.
  • Provide sufficient buffering between industrial and potentially incompatible uses.
  • Discourage the conversion of lands designated as industrial to non-industrial uses.

Goal: Provide community services adequate to fulfill the social, environmental and economic needs of residents.

Objective: Encourage the provision of a full range of community facilities and services within established urban service areas.


  • Extensions of public water and sanitary sewer within established urban service areas should run concurrently.
  • Avoid overloading wastewater treatment facilities through coordinated review of development proposals with the Warren County Sanitary Engineer and Warren County Commissioners.
  • As sanitary sewer is extended within established urban service areas into developing areas served by individual on-site wastewater disposal systems, connection to the public system should be mandated.
  • A high level of governmental and community facilities and services, such as police and fire protection, public transit facilities, health and social services, libraries, cultural, educational and recreational facilities should be provided to adequately meet the increased demand created by the intensity of development and population within established urban service areas.

Objective: Encourage the provision of necessary community facilities and services outside established urban service areas.

  • A sufficient level of governmental and community facilities and services, such as police and fire protection, educational and recreational facilities should be provided.
  • Coordinate with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (non-residential development) and the Warren County Combined Health District (single family residential development) regarding on-site wastewater disposal approval.

Goal: An inter-modal transportation system allowing for convenient access for all residents, workers and travelers.

Objective: Provide a variety of transportation modes, designated and designed to meet the differing needs of different people, activities and purposes of travel.


  • Cooperate in the enforcement of State and County access management regulations.
  • Implement the recommendations of the Warren County Official Thoroughfare Plan, Southwest Warren County Transportation Study, North-South Initiative (Interstate 75 study) and the Interstate 71 Corridor Transportation Study.
  • Integrate needed road improvements into the short range Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
  • Encourage connectivity between residential subdivisions, utilizing street stubs.
  • Encourage landscaped boulevard street sections within urban service areas.
  • Impact upon the road system should be thoroughly reviewed prior to any land use decision being made. Any project which is shown to degrade the level of service a full letter grade or more should be required to mitigate such impacts. Explore the imposition of impact fees or other alternative sources of funding.
  • Encourage transit service in established urban service areas and transit-oriented development (TOD) land use patterns in such areas.
  • Require sidewalks and connectivity between land uses in the development approval process within established urban service areas. Selectively retrofit pedestrian improvements in previously developed portions of urban service areas.
  • Encourage a network of multi-use paths throughout the planning area.
  • Implement traffic calming strategies (e.g., rotary features, narrowing of typical street sections, etc.) where appropriate, to help preserve/promote neighborhood character.
  • Cooperate in the promotion of ride sharing and/or carpooling, as well as other trip reduction strategies to reduce single occupant, private vehicle commuting by employees of major businesses.

Goal: Coordination and cooperation among local, State and Federal officials in matters relating to land use planning, to create a well-balanced, compatible and complementary arrangement of land uses.

Objective: Resolve problems in rapidly growing areas, by making land use decisions in a logical and meaningful fashion.


  • The Warren County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) should continue to provide technical assistance to member townships and municipalities.
  • Land use and zoning decisions should be based on input from local citizens and officials, adopted planning documents and sound planning principles.