The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue only when we have a position addressing it. If the members have not studied and come to consensus on it, the League has no position and therefore cannot take action. Studies (whether national, state, or local) are a defined process lasting one to three years, during which we undertake thorough pursuit of facts and details, both positive and negative, and come to consensus about policy.
What Studies Are There?
LWV Kent is now starting a local update of its Land Use and Zoning Position. There is a new study at the state level in Ohio on health. Studies from across the nation are in our League of Women Voters Education Fund Clearinghouse for studies.
What Is The Study Process?
- Study Committee members fashion consensus questions that are then asked of the membership as part of a study kit. Kits often include articles, books, data in the form of charts and graphs, videos, suggested speakers, discussion questions, and other resources. Members use the study kit internally and often with their community to better understand the issue.
- Consensus is the overall decision-making process by which substantial agreement among members is reached on an issue. Often this happens over the course of several meetings, but may include surveys and other methods. If the members reach consensus, the board forms recommended positions based on that consensus. Those recommendations are submitted to the Study Committee.
- The Study Committee then reviews all the submissions. It works to form a consensus statement - the statement resulting from the consensus questions - that becomes a recommended position.
- That recommended position is then reviewed and voted on by our members (usually by delegates at our Convention). The proposal may be approved, amended, or be rejected at that time.
- If a position is adopted, firm action can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action can not be taken on that issue.
Read the national Guidelines for LWVUS Studies.
Current Kent League Study Update
Land Use and Zoning
Committee Chair: Renee Ruchotzke
History: The League's position on this issue was adopted in 1959 and was updated in 1985 and 1996. A third update began in 1999 was completed in 2003.
The League supports:
- Development of a countywide comprehensive plan that incorporates principles of sustainable growth and is consistent with existing land use plans of local governmental subdivisions. This planning process should be undertaken with representation of all governmental subdivisions under the guidance of the Portage County Regional Planning Commission.
- Updating of the county's subdivision regulations to include encouragement of sustainable development.
- Adoption by governmental subdivisions of zoning ordinances which are based on the county's comprehensive plan and include.
- Prescribed setbacks with appropriate vegetation requirements that would establish adequate buffer zones to protect wetlands, floodplains, wildlife habitat, and other environmentally sensitive areas.
- Conservation development overlay districts that permit higher density cluster homes while designating common open space and wooded lots.
- Implementation of the Portage County Farmland Preservation Plan that
- Establishes growth centers determined by the availability of water, wastewater treatment, and other utility infrastructures.
- Provides for public financing of PDR's (purchase of development rights).
- Encourages use of conservation and agricultural easements as well as developer's purchase of TDRs (transfer of development rights)
- Development of a transportation system throughout the county that is intermodal in nature, including networks of pedestrian and bicycle trails and greenways connecting communities and providing regional transit and rail alternatives to major commercial and employment centers.
- Meaningful public involvement of stakeholders and citizens, especially neighborhoods and school systems, affected by land use decisions of local government entities.
Interested in joining the committee, email the chair at lwvkent [at] gmail.com or sign up here.
Current State Study
Statewide Study on Population Health and Health Services
Delegates to LWVO’s state convention in 2017 voted to undertake a new study of Population Health and Health Services in Ohio. The study will address the issues of public health and health disparities, as well as the distribution of resources for health care. Health Services include health care, public health, and the creation of environments in which people have the opportunity to be healthy. The study committee chair is Tina Bhargava, of LWV Kent. The plan is to have the members of the committee meet via conference call to establish a study outline and timeline and to divide tasks. The committee will develop both study materials to be used by local Leagues and consensus questions that may lead to new positions.
Recently Completed State Studies
Primary Election Systems
They also put together three white papers summarizing their research - Ohio municipal primaries survey &an addendum related to municipalities with ranked choice voting, Ohio statewide primaries survey - and interviews of experts and other state Leagues. Please note that the sample size in these surveys was not large enough to produce statistically valid generalizations, although they may be used for informational purposes.
Here is the position resulting from the study.