Tuesday, March 03, 2009


On March 17th, 2009 (St. Patrick’s Day) the Dearborn County Board of Commissioners may be prepared to take care of some old business—specifically, the draft Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan. The public hearing, set to begin at 7:00pm, will mark the first time in which the Comprehensive Plan update has been opened for discussion since it was tabled on November 20th, 2007. Both Plan Commission and staff members will be in attendance to address questions, comments, concerns and recommendations from all interested stakeholders.

Copies of the Comprehensive Plan update are currently available at the Department of Planning & Zoning office—located on the third floor of the Administration building—or online via the ‘Comprehensive Plan Land Use Update’ link at: www.dearborncounty.org/planning

For the past several years, the County Plan Commission, its 58-member Advisory Committee, and the local planning staff have been building upon the land use framework set forth in the 2004 Comprehensive Plan. These groups developed alternative land use scenarios in consideration of the feedback returned from 4 public workshops (which included 533 surveys) as well as the findings and recommendations forwarded by the active membership of the Advisory Committee during its 12 meetings.

The current proposal for the updated Land Use Element features the following amendments: revised existing land use maps; an amended series of future land use designations; new land use criteria maps; a future land use map guide; a future land use map; and a preliminary implementation program.

FACTS about Land Use

Future land use plans and maps:

· Indicate the future land uses the community prefers. Future land uses are defined by the primary activities for which land is projected to be used.

· Are general in nature—identifying uses and use areas conceptually within the Comprehensive Plan (Indiana Code 36-7-4-501, 502, 503)

· Are prepared by the Plan Commission for a 10-20 year time frame

· Are ADVISORY documents that are based on the community’s vision of the future

· Establish criteria to determine which mix of land uses may be appropriate

· Are used by residents, businesses, schools, utilities, and government officials to guide development and project community needs

· Are used—with zoning ordinances and the comprehensive plan—as a secondary tool to evaluate development proposals

· Emphasize the importance of compatibility of adjacent land uses

· Must remain flexible and up-to-date; may be amended by the County Commissioners at any time (Indiana Code 36-7-4-511)

· Do NOT change or regulate the existing use of land

· Do NOT replace zoning or subdivision control ordinances or comprehensive plans

· Do NOT change the zoning of a property

· Do NOT change taxes or tax rates

· Do NOT constitute the taking of private property as it is not regulatory—nor does it eliminate land use or economic viability of a property (Penn Central vs. City of New York, U.S., 1978; Lucas vs. South Carolina Coastal Council, U.S., 1992)

Mark McCormack
Director of Planning & Zoning
Dearborn County Plan Commission
(812) 537-8821

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