Sandusky, Ohio, my personal and professional home for most of my adult life, is finally (through the efforts of dedicated small business people and a city government that finally left the 1950s behind) showing some growth.

Now, though, they’re talking about an old shibboleth, the Master Plan.From what I’ve seen with Sandusky’s and surrounding towns’ previous experience with master plans, they’re an expensive way to throttle growth, by enforcing niggling requirements about design and appearance at the expense of larger growth or by stifling any initiative that doesn’t fit with the “vision,” whatever that might be.

I hope, for the sake of a downtown that crumbled for far too long, that the architects of the coming plan don’t focus on the irrelevancies; I still remember the owner of a pizza place (one of the first successful new businesses downtown in too long a while) complaining about a downtown development committee’s giving him crap about his use of the Italian flag’s bright colors on his storefront.