City officials have revealed part of a strategic growth plan that will help determine the best locations for future development and expansion.
Still in development, the plan will help city officials proactively prepare for residential and industrial expansion in areas where infrastructure and city services are most available.
The city planning department has been working on the strategic plan for more than a year, City-County Planning Director Jeff Bergman said.
The latest draft was presented Wednesday during a joint city and county plan commission meeting, giving city and county officials a brief overview of where future development could occur.
Long-range planner Emilie Pinkston said the plan was initiated following inquiries seeking the best places for future industrial and residential development.
“Land is sparse for large industrial operations and large residential developments within the city limits, so developers are starting to look to the outskirts of the city,” she said.
Pinkston said there are four components to the plan:
- Identifying sites in the city that may have constraints related to development
- Creating future land-use recommendations for those sites
- Assigning a timeline for future development of the sites
- Creating a list of action items the city may want to take to facilitate growth and development
The plan identifies locations with adequate fire protection, sewer service availability, water availability, areas near parks, areas near the Wellfield Protection Overlay District which outlines and protects public wellfields from specific development, areas near wetlands and areas near floodplains.
The areas with the most services and least amount of constraints are where development could possibly take place, Pinkston said.
According to maps used during the presentation, growth could happen to the southwest and east of the city, where utilities are available or could be in the future.
Pinkston emphasized the plan is not a blueprint for what the city will do to encourage future development. And it is not a suggestion that specific properties should be targeted for acquisition through eminent domain, she said.
“We’re looking at what properties give the availability in infrastructure and city services that are going to be most attractive to developers,” Pinkston said. “We want to be proactive and prepare for that.”
She gave the example of the Woodside Northwest Industrial Park area to demonstrate how the plan could help.
“To encourage development in this area, the city could, for example, improve County Road 300 West and make it easier for trucks to get in and out of those areas,” she said. “Not only does it look more attractive for developers, but you’re really making growth orderly by encouraging it in a small area.”
Pinkston said the plan also is supposed to be used hand-in-hand with the city’s existing inventory of infill sites in hopes to advertise and bring development in those areas.
Twenty-four infill sites are being marketed by the city, including the Bartholomew County Highway Department garage, the former Golden Castings Foundry site and the Crump farm off of Rocky Ford Road.
She said the planning department would like to have the strategic growth plan complete by the end of the year.