Community Planning Program

Cleveland Water

The Community Planning Program, formerly the Countryside Program, has been working since 1996 to promote sustainable urban, suburban, rural and exurban development patterns across Ohio. CPP is part of the Center for Community Planning and Development. We work with local officials (City/Village Councils, township trustees, zoning/planning commissions and boards; planning, zoning and building staff); landowners; developers and the real estate community; designers and planners; and the general public. We partner with local communities; County Planning Commissions and Soil and Water Districts; conservation groups and land conservancies; development groups; and State and Federal agencies to achieve a balanced approach.

  • We provide education through workshops, presentations, and individual discussion sessions.
  • We provide technical assistance on a wide variety of planning, zoning, development, and conservation projects and processes.
  • We conduct and participate in research that can contribute to better decision making in our region.
  • We act as a resource and clearinghouse for those in the State of Ohio who are working to achieve a balance of conservation and development.


Ohio Balanced Growth Program: Best Local Land Use Practices
The Ohio Balanced Growth Program was begun in 2006 by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, in response recommendations of the Ohio Balanced Growth Task Force, and also was a statewide program from 2009-2013 under the Ohio Water Resources Council. Kirby Date managed the outreach component of the Program, known as Best Local Land Use Practices (BLLUP) through 2016. The BLLUP program provides education, technical assistance, and research support to local governments in Ohio, focused on implementation of Balanced Growth Policy at the local government level. For more information see the Ohio Balanced Growth web site.

Community and Neighborhood Planning
The Community Planning Program works with communities and neighborhoods to provide a variety of planning services ranging from comprehensive planning to historic districts, zoning reviews to commercial market studies. Our philosophy is to provide affordable services that help to develop leadership capacity within the community.  The Program assisted Southington Township, Trumbull County, on their Comprehensive Plan. The plan is innovative because it was prepared by township citizens themselves, with mentoring from staff of the Community Planning Program, using the “Small Communities Planning Toolkit”, developed by the Program. The Program has also assisted the Village of Middlefield and the City of Olmsted Falls with retail and housing market studies, site suitability analyses, and downtown studies, including visitor questionnaires and merchant interviews. 

The Community Planning Program has also completed a downtown district plan for the Village of Jefferson in Ashtabula County. The plan involved assessment of current conditions including historic buildings and economic uses, and evaluation of alternatives for balancing historic preservation with economic development. The Village chose to adopt a Local Historic District and become a Certified Local Government in cooperation with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.

Other projects include retail market analyses for six Cleveland neighborhoods; an economic base analysis for the Village of Middlefield; and a retail and housing analysis for the City of Olmsted Falls.  We are currently working on a comprehensive housing analysis for the City of Oberlin.  Under our work on the Balanced Growth Program, we have completed code reviews for a number of communities, including the City of Geneva, City of Sandusky, City of Vermilion, Village of Bay View, Montville Township, and others.  A code review related to housing management issues and green building was completed for the City of Kent in 2015.

If you are interested in pursuing similar ideas for your community, please contact Kirby Date at 216-687-5477.

Additional Projects:

Staff of the Center for Community Planning and Development conducted a research project for the Ohio Department of Transportation which looked at the relationship of Balanced Growth land use policy to transportation benefits.  This was a collaborative project of the Levin College of Urban Affairs and the Washkewicz College of Engineering and was completed in 2014.