The mandatory 5-year review of Putnam Township’s Master Plan has been completed by their Planning Commission.

It was the opinion of the commission that the existing plan still met the needs, requirements, and overall intent of the township. As a result they passed a resolution recommending to the Board of Trustees that it does not need to be opened up and worked on. Trustee Norm Klein felt that leaving the master plan as-is it gave the township better control over commercial properties that may want to come in. When the review process began last year, much of the focus was around the large number of non-conforming lots found within Putnam Township, and if it was necessary to do anything about it. Chairman Jeff Lomber said they then began to look at ways to fix issues on these lots that will help residents while not requiring the plan to be opened.

Many of the problems came with setback distances for accessory buildings. Lomber said the commission has recently rewritten the language in the ordinance to help property owners better avoid the need to go before the zoning board of appeals. The new language set guidelines for setbacks that will more easily allow people on non-conforming lots to build accessory buildings and not go through the variance-process. Zoning Administrator Ken Damrel said this looks like it will solve a lot of issues. Township Planning Consultant Brian Borden said it will allow more residents to do construction while also protecting the neighbors. The recommendation passed by a 5-1 vote, with Glen Hood voting against it. (MK)