Taking a look back
Since 1995, Dublin’s residents and policy-makers have desired a plan that would control future traffic congestion to the greatest extent feasible, while maintaining appropriate land uses and continued fiscal health. It was recognized that although development patterns outside the city boundary may not always match Dublin’s expectations, surrounding growth will, nevertheless, have a significant impact on the city. The Community Plan process has sought to mitigate these potential impacts. Efforts have included working cooperatively with surrounding jurisdictions to ensure quality development and fiscal health for the area as a whole.
As part of the 1997 Community Plan, a significant effort was made to model and analyze growth scenarios for the Dublin planning area. Following an intense multi-year process that considered trends based on adopted plans within the area and multiple development alternatives, a low-intensity scenario was endorsed. Given resulting traffic impacts, a request was made by the Steering Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council to lower development intensities further while maintaining projected fiscal health.
The 1997 Community Plan and the adopted Future Land Use Map reflected this “lower than low” scenario with minor modifications that emphasized office development along the I-270 and U.S. 33 corridors and residential development at 1.0 to 2.0 dwelling units per acre in growth areas outside of the commercial corridors. The 1997 Plan and subsequent amendments served Dublin well through the first half of the 2000s and continued Dublin’s development as a high quality, successful city.
The 2007 update of the Community Plan was undertaken to account for changing demographic and development trends within the city and the Central Ohio region. Dublin’s residents and policy-makers recognized that in some areas of the city, higher development densities, with a continued focus on high-quality design, could provide additional benefits to the City by concentrating infrastructure and service investments in targeted areas. This targeted growth strategy responds to a growing demand for compact walkable places with additional housing and shopping options, while increasing commercial development opportunities to maintain the City’s fiscal health. The 2007 Future Land Use Map included a series of walkable, mixed use centers and mixed residential neighborhoods, and emphasized high-intensity office and research and development uses along the U.S. 33 corridor.
Building the Plan
The existing land use inventory is used as a basis to identify potential development areas consisting of vacant or underutilized land within the planning area. Based upon public input and discussion with City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission, several land use scenarios were developed as part of the 2007 Plan update to evaluate land use impacts from multiple perspectives to the horizon year 2030. This analysis focused on key locations throughout the city and in potential annexation areas, which consist of lands within Dublin’s exclusive sewer and water service area or within the service area negotiated between Dublin and the City of Columbus. Special planning areas were identified based on the likelihood of future development pressures or the potential for significant redevelopment opportunity. The results and estimation of impacts from the three development scenarios were used by residents and policy makers to formulate informed decisions about Dublin’s future. Policy implications were discussed for future traffic analysis, fiscal implications, water and sewer impacts and overall levels of service.
The Dublin planning area extends beyond the existing City of Dublin corporation limits. For areas outside the planning area and within the transportation modeling area (study area), land uses from MORPC’s model have been used to calibrate the Dublin transportation model. Land use assumptions included within the MORPC model are verified for accuracy when compared to current or pending development projects within the area and adopted plans for surrounding jurisdictions. The MORPC data is generally consistent with expected development, particularly in areas of growth and change to the north and west of Dublin.
Land Use Scenarios
As part of the 2007 Community Plan update, three scenarios were created with varying intensities of land use. These land use alternatives were the basis for an in-depth analysis of potential development impacts. The land use assumptions contained in the alternatives were analyzed for effects on the transportation network, utilities, and fiscal plan. The scenarios are outlined below.
The Trend Scenario
Analysis for the 2007 update included an iterative modeling process, using the adopted land use policies as expressed in the 1997 Community Plan as a baseline for comparison. The “Trend Scenario” was derived from (1) existing development within the city, (2) the potential for additional development of properties given established zoning, and (3) future land use designations as denoted on the adopted Future Land Use Map (as revised on January 7, 2005). The Trend Scenario represented the expected build-out of the city and its planning area based upon no change to current policies. The scenario, as a result, expressed land use impacts if Dublin were to continue on its current course of development. Major components of the Trend Scenario include the following:
- Focus on retail and office development within the Sawmill Road/SR 161 area south of I-270 and east of the Scioto River;
- Additional office development along the future Emerald Parkway extension between Sawmill Road and Riverside Drive;
- Industrial and office development along the Shier Rings Road corridor;
- Additional office and retail development as Tuttle Road is extended to the west;
- Substantial office and industrial development along U.S. 33;
- Additional industrial development and future residential development along and to the west of Industrial Parkway; and
- Significant residential development within the southwest and northwest growth corridors of the city.
The Mid-Range Scenario
While the Trend Scenario expressed a clear focus on office development and single-family neighborhoods, additional needs such as greater housing options, convenient neighborhood services and more walkable environments were identified and expressed in the adopted Land Use Principles.
Scenario Two, or the “Mid-Range Scenario,” was developed as part of the public planning process and represents a policy shift that acknowledges the success and popularity of existing Dublin development, yet strives to provide greater variety and opportunity in the future. In particular, the Mid-Range Scenario incorporated the concepts of mixed use development and targeted neighborhood center development to provide more localized and convenient services for residents and employees. Using area plan concepts, the scenario included mixed use redevelopment strategies in the Sawmill Road area, the expected revitalization of Historic Dublin and future development of the West Innovation District as a major employment generator for the region. Given these planning objectives, the scenario designates the State Route 161 Corridor as the central development core of the city. Targeting of densities and major employment nodes was encouraged to facilitate long-term transit options as the region develops. The following are major differences between the Trend and Mid-Range Scenarios:
- Instead of general suburban office and retail development, the Mid-Range Scenario encouraged the integration of mixed use office and retail with high density housing to revitalize existing or redeveloped community-level commercial strip centers that have struggled with the creation of new retail opportunities in the area.
- Residential designations within the Southwest Area were modified to vary from single-family residential uses as identified in the Trend Scenario. The Amlin area was identified as a village node where mixed use development would be concentrated. Surrounding areas were balanced by residential conservation patterns to the west and a broader range of housing options to the east along the Tuttle Road extension, consistent with adopted land use principles.
- As part of planning efforts for the West Innovation District, growth along U.S. 33 and Post Road would facilitate greater office and research components with additional support services for employees.
- Areas to the northwest focused on low density residential conservation patterns to maximize open space around the Glacier Ridge Metro Park. The scenario targeted neighborhood centers where appropriate, and varied from the large-lot, low density development identified in the Trend Scenario.
- Non-residential areas west of U.S. 33 focused on future industrial growth along Industrial Parkway associated with research activities in the West Innovation District. Residential development patterns to the west were also modified to provide housing options and daily services for area employees within the framework of a coordinated open space system.
The Maximum Build-Out Scenario
The third land use scenario tested, the “Maximum Build-Out,” continued the integration of conservation design, mixed use neighborhood centers, a broader range of housing, targeted redevelopment of ailing retail areas and future technology-related growth in the West Innovation District. The Maximum Build-Out Scenario is generally similar to the Mid-Range Scenario; however, long-term success and growth of the U.S. 33 Corridor north of State Route 161 was assumed with substantial employment growth along the Industrial Parkway corridor. Additional office, research and light industrial uses were included in areas west of U.S. 33 identified as residential in the other scenarios.
Modeling the Scenarios
A build-out analysis was conducted to determine the total capacity for growth under each scenario, given currently undeveloped land and selected future land uses. The capacity was calculated by multiplying the land area by specific densities and then translating the number of households and non-residential square footage into population and employment projections.
Findings indicated that the Trend Scenario resulted in a build-out population for the planning area of 74,480 persons; a 110 percent increase over the 2004 population. The tested scenario would have capacity to support residential growth beyond 2030 and resulted in a housing stock comprised of 70 percent single-family homes. Other scenarios created a broader range of housing types, but lower population estimates due to expected decreases in household size. The Mid-Range and Maximum Build-out Scenarios encourage mixed uses and greater diversity of housing types. These alternatives were tested with more open space and adequate areas of land assigned to non-residential land uses to promote substantial employment. Based on these initial capacity results, the Development Capacity Analysis was used for transportation and fiscal modeling.
The build-out year for all scenarios was beyond the 2030 horizon year established for transportation modeling. Because the Dublin travel demand model (the method used to determine regional traffic impacts) functions within a regional system, it was necessary to be consistent with regional transportation network assumptions using the planning horizon year of 2030, as used by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and MORPC. Maintaining consistency with these entities allows for the Dublin travel demand model to incorporate land use and travel data from outside of the Dublin planning area. Growth forecasts were completed that included population and employment growth in the Dublin land use planning area to meet the interim planning horizon of 2030 and meet the consistency needs of the travel demand model.
It was determined in the analysis that if all the people and businesses that wanted to move to Dublin could do so by 2030, there would be demand for housing for 66,000 residents and 124,500 new jobs. The projections included existing and new population and employment for the planning area. To accommodate this, the three scenarios were adjusted to reflect the amount of development and growth that could occur by 2030. By using the potential demand as a control, each scenario was “built” to best meet the projected demand.
Each scenario included a different mix of housing types and non-residential building areas, and each land use type generated different results based on industry standards and observed trends in Dublin. Based on the demand, new homes were modeled by type (i.e. single-family, single-family attached, and multi-family) and new non-residential square footage by type (i.e. commercial/retail, office, and industrial). The results, as calibrated to the horizon year of 2030, were included in the travel demand model. Following a preliminary review of transportation results derived from the land use scenarios and capacity demand analysis, findings were provided to policy-makers. Based upon the traffic impacts of the land use options, the Mid-Range Scenario was selected to complete comprehensive modeling effort
Refining the Scenarios
Land use scenarios represent a snapshot in time; they are developed based on the best information available and a reasonable set of assumptions about future conditions. As conditions change, new trends are observed, and more information is gathered, assumptions about the future must also be revised. The Mid-Range Scenario and associated modeling continues to provide a strong framework for Dublin’s Land Use Plan. However, periodic adjustments and refinements are also necessary to maintain the Plan’s currency and effectiveness as a policy guide for decision-making. Since the adoption of the 2007 Community Plan, changing trends in demographics, housing demand, commercial development patterns and real estate financing occurring at national, regional and local levels have caused the City to undertake two major planning initiatives.
The Bridge Street District planning effort began in 2009 as an analysis of how and where Dublin could accommodate the growing interest in walkable, urban neighborhoods among young adult and retirement age populations. It culminated in the adoption of the Bridge Street Corridor Vision Report by City Council in 2010, followed by the adoption of new form-based zoning regulations in 2012, from which ongoing implementation efforts will be undertaken.
The West Innovation District Plan was undertaken to further the many years of planning for a signature research and development campus to the west and south of U.S. 33/SR 161. City Council adopted the Economic Advancement Zone Plan along with updated zoning regulations for this area in 2011. These plans are consistent with the Land Use Principles and other planning goals developed as part of the 2007 Community Plan, and have been incorporated into the Land Use Plan with revisions to the Future Land Use Map and Special Area Plans.