Planning is essential in order for a community to define their collective vision for the future. Planning reviews and evaluates existing conditions, establishes a collective vision, and establishes clear goals and objectives for achieving that vision.
What is the purpose of a comprehensive plan?
A comprehensive plan is an official policy document, used by elected officials and community leaders to create a long-term vision for the community and to inform land use, infrastructure, and other community development decisions.
What topics will the comprehensive plan address?
The comprehensive plan will cover topics such as economic development, land use, infrastructure, natural resources/environment, quality of life and housing.
What timeframe are we planning for?
The plan will look out 10-20 years.
Are there legal requirements for a comprehensive plan?
Yes, it is governed by Indiana Code 36-7-4. The plan must contain a statement of objectives on future development, a statement of policy for land use development, and a statement of policy for the development of public ways, public places, public lands, public structure, and public utilities. The statute also provides a community the option of including more components in the plan to address unique local concerns.
Is there a difference between zoning and a comprehensive plan?
Yes. The comprehensive plan is a policy document, but it is not binding. It is enforced through the adoption or amendment of local development ordinances (such as zoning and subdivision ordinances).
Is a comprehensive plan only about managing growth?
No. Even if a community is not growing, it still needs to manage the changes that happen over time. Without a clear plan, change is managed with piecemeal decisions that are not always in the community’s long term best interests.
What is expected of a steering committee member?
As a member of the steering committee, we ask that you:
- Participate in the committee meetings;
- Provide input on discussion topics, especially in your area of expertise/interests;
- Ask for input from colleagues, friends and neighbors on the topics;
- Build interest and support for the plan by talking to others about it;
- Share your ideas and the input that you hear;
- Read and review drafts to make sure they reflect the community’s vision.
How is the planning work being funded?
The plan is being funded locally.
Who approves the plan?
The plan will be presented to the Area Plan Commission for their review. The Area Plan Commission needs to recommend approval of the plan to the City Council. Final plan approval is by the City Council.
How can we keep this from sitting on a shelf unused?
The most common criticism of planning documents is that they get put on a shelf when they are finished, and do not get looked at again. In our experience, plans that get used have these elements:
- There must be a clear vision for the community;
- The plan needs public support;
- The plan needs clear action items;
- The plan needs to assign responsibility for completing the action items;
- The plan needs to focus on realistic goals.