Policy Recommendations

NEOSCC and its Policy working group developed the Policy Framework as a tool for analyzing the effects existing policies have on the region and identifying what will be needed to create desired change. NEOSCC anticipates that the Policy Framework will provide elected officials and other decision-makers with direction and support related to the policies and practices that will be o achieve the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision. The Framework includes a set of 40 policy directions that are tied to specific Vision Recommendations and that support their implementation and a “Top Ten List” that identifies the highest-priority policy changes.

The Policy Framework document gives an in-depth presentation on what policies will support the nine Vibrant NEO2040 Vision overarching recommendations and gives guidance to local, county and state entities on how to implement them. These policies are a product of comprehensive research done by NEOSCC staff as well as guidance and input from the Policy Working Group.  The Policy Working Group is comprised of previous topical ( Connections, Housing & Communities,  Environment, Economic Development and Quality Connected Places) work stream members that were brought together to identify policies and practices that are impediments as well as identifying supportive actions that should be left in place or strengthened to achieve the regional vision.  You can download a copy of the framework here: Vibrant NEO 2040 Policy Framework

Top Ten Regional Priority Policies:After analysis of the goals and recommendations of the Vibrant NEO2040 Vision document; the following ten polices surfaced as the most essential and when implemented will help usher Northeast Ohio into a new vibrant and sustainable region. Each policy is nested under the applicable high-level VISION THEME(S) AND RECOMMENDATION(S) originating from the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision document.


Theme: Strengthen Established Communities

Recommendation ONE: Focus new residential and commercial development on sites within established communities

Policy: Rebuild the central core of the regions legacy cities: Rebuilding the central core of legacy cities often constitutes the first step in the regeneration of a city and subsequently the region. If the physical fabric of the area is largely intact, the combination of density and a walkable, urban texture with proximity to major institutions and employers creates significant opportunities for regeneration driven by residential development. Implementation Actor(s): Local and county governments and land bank authorities.

Policy: Incorporate “Fix –It-First” as the central principle guiding transportation investment decisions.  A fix-it-first strategy prioritizes infrastructure spending to support the maintenance and upgrading of existing structures and facilities, instead of incurring the cost of constructing or installing new infrastructure. It also maximizes the value of past investments, minimizes the use of state funds on new projects, stretches limited resources and reinvests in revitalizes existing communities.  Implementation Actor(s): MPO’s, ODOT, and local and county governments.

Recommendation TWO: Develop a robust network of regional job centers connected by multimodal transportation corridors within and between counties

Policy: Support targeted investments in transportation infrastructure and services designed to connect clusters, improve workforce mobility, and promote vibrant communities. How we plan our transportation networks, and allocate resources within them, plays a large role in making our economy more diversified and resilient.  Targeted investments will improve the region’s economic competitiveness in the global economy and foster greater economic resilience. Job creation and retention are major challenges facing much of the country, as well as northeast Ohio. Transportation planning can play a key role in shaping the regions’ economy and also has the ability to shape our communities into vibrant places that attract and retain high-wage workers who can choose where they live and work, particularly next generation workers.  Implementation Actor(s): MPO’s, public transit agencies, ODOT, and local and county economic development and planning departments.

Recommendation THREE: Pursue the remediation, assembly, marketing, and redevelopment of abandoned properties at both the local and regional levels

Policy: Develop and promote innovative clean up strategies: Developing and promoting Innovative cleanup strategies that restore contaminated sites to productive use, promote environmental stewardship, and reduce associated costs while minimizing ancillary environmental impacts from these cleanups. Consider cleanups in the context of the larger environment and consistently and pro-actively apply more sustainable methods to remediate the site while still protecting public health and the environment and striving to achieve the established cleanup goals. Implementation Actor(s): Local and county governments, EPA, Clean Ohio/Jobs Ohio

Recommendation FOUR: Encourage a higher frequency of mixed-use development and a range of diverse, affordable housing options

Policy: Incentivize neighborhood investments to promote various types of infill development:Local governments should use infill incentives to promote the development of vacant land-or rehabilitation of existing structures-in already urbanized areas where infrastructure and services are in place. The incentives should focus on substantial rehabilitation/improvement and new construction.  Prime locations for infill development include downtowns, transit corridors and locations near employment, shopping, and recreational and cultural amenities. Implementation Actor(s):  Local and county governments and land bank authorities.

Theme: Increase Transportation Choice

Recommendation FIVE: Enhance and coordinate the region’s rail and bus services

Policy: Create a comprehensive regional transit plan that crosses county boundaries: Regional public transportation coordination focuses on maximizing the benefits of the public transportation investment through the coordination of services. Currently, there is no overall regional transit plan for northeast Ohio.  Implementation Actor(s): MPO’s, public transit agencies, and ODOT

Recommendation SIX: Enhance walking and cycling as transportation options to increase regional mobility and improve public health

Policy: Increase state funding for public transit and other alternative modes of transportation.  Ohio should set aside at least $75 million each year in funding into a designated fund used to expand Ohio’s transportation choices, and ramp up “transportation choices” funding to 10 percent of the state’s transportation budget by 2025.

Theme: Preserve and Protect Natural Resources

Recommendation SEVEN: Preserve our natural areas for future generations, provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and develop a regional approach to protecting air, water, and soil

Policy: Support legislation that incorporates agricultural land preservation into long range planning: Two primary planning goals are to provide locations for necessary urban development and to protect natural resources. If growth is properly directed, the two should not come into conflict. Therefore, agricultural land preservation programs should not be independent of more general growth management programs. Agricultural land preservation is necessary to curb urban/suburban sprawl and re-focus development into existing downtowns and areas with appropriate infrastructure. Implementation Actor(s): Local, county, and state of Ohio governments.

Policy: Adopt a green infrastructure approach to open space, habitat and water resources: The region  can benefit in multiple ways by aligning open space, habitat and water resource programs to serve, where effective, as green infrastructure. Green infrastructure allows the integration of inter-related programs such as natural resources management, mapping, parks conservation, floodplain management and planning. It also requires an assessment of the full range of economic value and costs related to land conservation.  Implementation Actor(s): Local and County governments, and Ohio EPA

Policy: Help local governments set and achieve land conservation goals: Local land preservation efforts are critical to meeting statewide land preservation goals, but they can benefit from the State’s technical and financial support. The State can support local efforts by inventorying open space and natural areas, as well as providing mapping support, technical information and assistance, training and matching funds that are contingent on demonstrated local leadership and a commitment to land conservation. Implementation Actor(s): Local governments