Program Year: One

Client: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Water Resources Council

State-identified Need: Identify and design state program incentives to support local implementation of locally developed Balanced Growth Plans.

Project Summary: Review the Lake Erie Balanced Growth Pilot program and develop recommendations to increase the program's effectiveness as a means of protecting drinking water sources.

Methodology: At the outset, the project team joined a regular meeting of the staff of Ohio Water Resources Council member agencies in order to learn about the Balanced Growth Pilot program. After further research, the project team developed a two-part workshop, including an afternoon conference for a general audience, focused on the economic importance of clean water and balanced growth. The second day of the workshop engaged Water Resources Council staff and representatives of Pilot communities in a discussion of the team's draft recommendations. A final report refined the focus of the draft.

Recommendations: Due to the nature of the Balanced Growth program, many of the recommendations were directed at the program's overall effectiveness and its ability to achieve intended results. The final report focused on developing meaningful incentives for participation in and implementation of Balanced Growth plans and on aligning state actions in support of the program. Specific recommendations included several options for streamlining existing permitting programs, re-orienting existing funding programs to support balanced growth, and improving support for local government planning activities.

Work Underway:The final report's emphasis on support for implementation (as opposed to planning alone) has been reflected in subsequent program documentation.

  • The state's Clean Water SRF point system now awards three additional points to projects in jurisdictions that are implementing Balanced Growth plans.
  • New program fact sheets explain how ongoing efforts to streamline permits and planning requirements are an incentive.
  • A "State Agencies Action Items List" references the SGLI final report and its analysis to establish the need for state agency partners to identify meaningful incentives and participate in other efforts to support Balanced Growth participants.

Download the Final Ohio Report.