The Commission was formed primarily as a result of the announcement by Governor Rhodes and The Ohio State University Officials that the Transportation Research Center of Ohio would be located straddling the Logan and Union County Line. This 8100-acre facility was touted to be the world's largest automotive research center. Several studies indicated that a lot of growth and development would take place around the TRC, which would result in an influx of people, business, and industry. Therefore, local officials felt that a Planning Commission should be formed to start planning for the orderly development of the three counties.
The Commission elected Eugene Amrine from Marysville as its first president. The Commission met at the Masonic Temple in North Lewisburg on a monthly basis during 1967 and 1968. The Ohio Department of Development, Division of Planning, under the direction of Paul Baldridge and Patric Meeker contracted with L-U-C as the consultant to develop the first Comprehensive Plan for the three counties. This effort took two years to complete.
The first office for the Commission was located in a former residence along US Route 33 on the site of the TRC. Carmen Scott of Bellefontaine was hired as the recording secretary in April 1968 to take minutes of the monthly meetings. In November, 1968 the Commission decided to hire a full-time director and Carmen was selected from eight applicants for the position. The monthly meetings were then moved to the Masonic Temple in East Liberty. In 1970 the office was moved into the west half of the East Liberty Restaurant Building. It remained there until August 1972 when it moved into its present building. During the early 1970's, the Commission met on a quarterly basis at various locations through the three counties. In the mid-1970-'s the Commission began having annual meetings at the Ohio Hi-Point Joint Vocational School. In 2003, the Commission's annual meetings begin rotating amount the three counties and is determined by the Board President's County.
The membership in the Commission is determined by the by-laws. Participating villages, cities, and counties are permitted to have a certain number of representatives. The first village to become a member was North Lewisburg in March 1967, followed by St. Paris, Quincy, DeGraff, and Richwood. In 1986 other municipalities began to join. The first township to join the Commission was Liberty Township, Union County in September 1967. Over the years all 43 townships have become members. As a result there are 95 people representing the various political subdivisions on the Regional Planning Commission. An Executive Committee consisting of 24 people is elected from the general membership at the Annual Meeting. This committee meets monthly and is the decision and policy making group for the Commission.
The Commission is charged under Ohio Law with certain responsbilities. Among them are the review and approval of subdivisions located in the unincorporated areas and the review and recommendation to township zoning commissions concerning zoning amendments. The Commission also acts as an Area-Wide Clearinghouse for applicants who request federal and state assistance for selected projects. Assistance is rendered to township and municipal zoning and planning commissions regarding zoning and subdivision development.
The Commission and several of its members have been actively involved in the attraction of new business and industry to the area and in the improvement of US Route 33, 68 and other infrastructure improvements. The Commission is funded by the villages, cities, and townships of the three counties and by the three counties themselves on a per capita basis.