This project began in May 2010 and finished in October 2011.
Franklin County planners and a range of stakeholders drafted an amendment to the Franklin County Zoning Resolution to establish buffer zones around streams in the Alum Creek and Big Walnut Creek watersheds. The stream buffer regulation was developed with extensive public and stakeholder input.
Planning area boundaries
The regulation applies to the unincorporated portions of Blendon, Clinton and Mifflin Townships in the Alum Creek and Big Walnut Creek watersheds.
Prior to starting the Clean Streams Northeast project, Franklin County worked with the townships to develop a vision for their communities in the future. Hundreds of stakeholders participated in the planning process during public workshops, meetings and stakeholder interviews. Participants supported adopting stream buffer regulations to protect the environment and water quality.
Following the community visioning projects, we initiated the Clean Streams Northeast project to help achieve the communities’ vision for a healthy and protected environment.
We held many public meetings and information sessions throughout the process, and met with community groups and Township Boards of Trustees to explain the regulation. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved the Clean Streams Northeast regulation on October 10, 2011.
The commissioners’ final action followed approvals by the Franklin County Planning Commission and Franklin County Rural Zoning Commission. A total of seven public hearings were held by the three boards, resulting in numerous revisions to address residents' concerns. The final adopted regulation took effect on November 11, 2011.
Clean Streams Northeast regulation
The regulation is part of the Franklin County Zoning Resolution.
Clean Streams Northeast Regulation
Accurate data is essential to locating stream buffer areas and our maps are based on the best available data. Stream locations should be field-verified for accuracy prior to beginning any property improvements. Visit our GIS page for an interactive map of stream buffers.
Franklin County zoning interactive map (includes stream buffer layer)
Background and educational information
We completed the Clean Streams Northeast regulation after researching the importance of stream buffers and how they are implemented in other communities.
Importance of stream buffers
Establishing buffer zones is critical to keeping our streams clean.
Buffer zones also provide the following benefits:
- Reduce property damage due to flooding
- Help replenish the groundwater supply
- Provide and protect wildlife habitat
- Aid our local economy by making Franklin County an attractive place to call home
Impacts of developing near streams:
- Property damage from erosion and flooding
- Increased pollution in streams
- Public expenditures for costly engineering solutions to protect property
Stream buffers were recommended by the Clinton-Mifflin Land Use Plan and the Blendon Community Plan. Both plans included multiple public meetings and were adopted by the Township Boards of Trustees and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. The plans serve as a policy foundation to support county decisions and projects.
We began our process with a model regulation for the Big Darby Creek watershed in western Franklin County. Using the model regulation as a base document, we customized it to northeast Franklin County’s streams.
Big Darby Creek stream buffers
Watershed resources recommending stream buffers
The following resources recommend the use of stream buffers to improve water quality in the Alum Creek and Big Walnut Creek Watersheds.
Big Walnut Creek TMDL
A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a calculation of the amount of pollution that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. This report serves to document the Big Walnut Creek TMDL (including Alum Creek) process and provide for actions to restore and maintain these watercourses.
Total Maximum Daily Loads for the Big Walnut Creek Watershed
Watershed groups are local, non-profit organizations committed to the preservation and protection of watersheds. These groups promote environmentally responsible land use and development practices through the creation of watershed action plans. Once developed, watershed action plans go through an endorsement process with the Ohio EPA and ODNR. Both plans listed below are state endorsed.
Friends of Alum Creek & Tributaries (FACT) - Watershed Action Plan
The purpose of this action plan is to identify and restore impaired reaches of Alum Creek and tributaries by reducing pollution. The plan strives to incorporate the vision of local communities for improving neighborhoods as they relate to water quality. This plan presents an analysis of the underlying environmental, economic, and social factors related to the impaired areas and outlines strategies for restoration and preservation.
Friends of Big Walnut Creek - Watershed Action Plan
The Lower Big Walnut Creek Watershed Action Plan (WAP) is a community driven plan that reflects the public’s concerns and provides water quality data. The overall goal of the Lower Big Walnut Creek Watershed Action Plan is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of Big Walnut Creek. This plan identifies the shared vision of watershed residents, local governments, state agencies and elected officials.