Hamilton County residents are being invited to give their input in the county’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan.
The Hamilton County Plan Commission will renew the plan this year to better guide future development and growth.
The plan covers Adams, Wayne and White River townships.
I saw an invitation on Friday for upcoming public planning meetings, seeking citizen input. So I am using today’s column to share more.
Three Comprehensive Plan community meetings have been set: an Adams Township meeting on Feb. 27 at Sheridan Community Center, a White River Township meeting on March 5 at Walnut Grove Community Center in Atlanta, and a Wayne Township meeting on March 12 at Durbin Elementary School in Noblesville.
These meetings, which are all at 6:30 p.m., are also listed on the “Hamilton County, IN Comprehensive Plan” Facebook page, where folks can click on “Interested” or “Going” or add the dates to calendars. Residents can also share and “Reserve a spot.”
Indiana State Law gives municipalities, like Hamilton County, the capability to approve and adopt a comprehensive plan, which must have a statement of objectives for the future development of the jurisdiction, a statement of policy for the land use development of the jurisdiction and a statement of policy for the development of public ways, public places, public lands, public structures, and public utilities.
The idea is that Hamilton County residents and leaders will shape a land-use vision that strikes a healthy balance between environment, community, culture, values and economy.
The Plan Commission will update the 2006 existing Comprehensive Plan and implement the new plan over the next 10 years.
A Hamilton County Plan Commission Comprehensive Plan Update Committee was formed in 2019 to help facilitate the plan. The committee is made up of seven members: Frank “Chip” Habig III of Sheridan, chairman of the Hamilton County Plan Commission; Steve Schwartz and Jim Galloway, both of Noblesville, also representing Plan Commission; Charlie McMillan Jr. of Noblesville, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Zoning Appeals, South District; Ron Hall of Cicero, representing Hamilton County Board of Zoning Appeals, North District; Brenda Myers of Fishers, president and CEO of Hamilton County Tourism; and Tim Johnson of Atlanta, Ind., representing White River Township.
The members were invited to be on the committee at the Plan Commission meeting on Sept. 18 or contacted shortly thereafter to see if they would be willing to serve on the committee to update the county’s comprehensive plan, according to the committee’s minutes, which committee secretary Linda Burdett agreed to share with me.
Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt recommended four names for the committee, Habig recommended one more name and then the entire board recommended one name and then gave permission to Habig to select the seventh member.
On Oct. 24, the committee met with staff to establish a chairman, committee meeting times and parameters for a consulting firm which would be hired.
On Nov. 7, the committee met to hear presentations from four companies: Innovative Planning of Carmel, Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group of Indianapolis, American Structurepoint of Indianapolis and HWC Engineering of Indianapolis.
On Nov. 21, the committee met to discuss and make a recommendation for their selection of a consultant to update the comprehensive plan to the Hamilton County Plan Commission at a special meeting on Dec. 4, 2019.
Innovative Planning was chosen with the understanding that the final cost of the update to the Comprehensive Plan is not to exceed $150,000. (Innovating Planning was also hired to write the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Some may question choosing the same company for both … but the committee liked the presentation best. )
Corrie Myer is president and CEO of Innovative Planning, and the company’s job will be to help the committee think through significant goals with a focus on facilitating redevelopment. Innovative Planning specializes in urban revitalization, community and neighborhood planning, quality of place, urban design, fundraising and grant writing.
Myer brought on Peterson Architecture, owned by Noblesville architect and City Councilman Darren Peterson, and Christopher Burke Engineering of Indianapolis, to form the joint venture proposal response that was accepted by the committee.
On Jan. 15, the committee met with the selected consultant with discussion following on revising the existing mission statement, identifying goals, plans for getting the word out, setting up and confirming the public meeting dates and what is expected to be gleaned from the public meetings, and the timeline for activities and finalizing the comprehensive plan update.
During the upcoming public meetings, the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee will conduct the meetings and will put together a plan of what the people want.
Citizens who want to make a difference should plan to put these public meeting dates on their calendar.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.