Give Downtown Troy a Voice
The Troy Planning Commission makes important decisions affecting downtown Troy. It governs whether and how property and business owners can display signs, paint their buildings, make changes to or even demolish their buildings.
Currently the Planning Commission:
Has no members who live downtown or work at downtown businesses
Has no appointees who own property downtown
Has no representation from historic preservation organizations, as is the case in most other Ohio communities surveyed by the City of Troy
Has no architect to help ensure that decisions about downtown buildings are informed
We are calling on the Troy City Council to exercise its legislative authority to make changes to ensure better representation of downtown stakeholders on the Troy Planning Commission.
What is the issue?
During the recent moratorium on demolitions in downtown Troy, the City of Troy surveyed other Ohio communities for best practices related to oversight of historic downtowns. In addition to examining those communities’ downtown zoning codes, City of Troy staff also surveyed these towns about the makeup of the bodies that have oversight of the downtown built environment.
What did the city’s survey find?
The survey found overwhelmingly that other Ohio cities have greater representation of downtown stakeholders at the table when decisions are made about their downtowns. This includes people who live, work, or own property downtown; representatives of historic preservation organizations; and people with skill sets relevant to such decisions, such as architects and engineers.
How does Troy compare to these communities?
Troy is an outlier when it comes to representing downtown stakeholders on its Planning Commission. Among 15 Ohio cities surveyed, Troy finished dead last in terms of representation.
Why should I care?
Supporters of our downtown should care about this lack of representation because the Planning Commission has oversight of important decisions that affect our downtown, including signage, the paint colors of buildings, and any alterations or demolition of buildings. Many of our elected officials profess support of private property rights, yet do not seem interested in addressing the issue.
How could this be fixed?
Earlier this year, Troy Main Street, Troy Community Works, and the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance collaborated on a series of proposals to advance a culture of stewardship in downtown Troy. The proposals included both incentives for stewardship and other collaborative projects. One proposal called for the Troy City Council to add two seats to the Planning Commission to ensure greater representation of downtown interests.
Who would hold these two seats?
We are proposing that an expanded Planning Commission include the following representation:
The mayor, public service and safety director, and park board president (as authorized in the Ohio Revised Code)
Three residents of Troy
An appointee who lives, works, or owns property in downtown Troy
A representative of an organization whose mission includes historic preservation (i.e. Troy Main Street, Troy Community Works, or the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance)
An architect or professional engineer
Why doesn’t the Troy Planning Commission already have this representation?
That’s a good question. The city’s comprehensive plan calls for at least ad hoc representation on the Planning Commission from historic homeowners or a historic neighborhood association. City officials have not taken even this minor step.
Mayor Oda is a member of the Troy Planning Commission. Doesn’t she own property downtown?
Mayor Oda has an ownership stake in a downtown Troy property and is a member of the Troy Planning Commission. However, it is extremely important to note that the mayor is an ELECTED official, and she is elected to represent all citizens of Troy. Were the mayor to let her own personal property holdings sway her vote would be unethical. Instead, it is vital that individuals are APPOINTED to the Planning Commission to represent certain downtown stakeholders, such as property owners.
Further, if another person is elected mayor in the future, the next mayor might not be a downtown property owner. The City Council can take legislative action to ensure that downtown interests are better represented on the Troy Planning Commission.
What if my council member is opposed to adding two seats to the Planning Commission?
Ask your council member what ideas he or she has for ensuring downtown has a voice on the Planning Commission.
I support giving downtown a greater voice on the Planning Commission.
What should I do?
Let your council member know that you want representation by those who live, work or own property downtown.