Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dearborn County Comprehensive Plan First Meeting (Reorganization) Notes

Dearborn County Comprehensive Plan First Meeting (Reorganization) Notes

The Dearborn County Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee met for about 90 minutes on October 30th in the County Administration Building. Nearly all the members were present. Mark McCormack, Planning Director, lead the meeting along with his staff. Commissioner Kevin Lynch, as he usually does, asked to speak at the beginning of the meeting. He welcomed the community leaders in the room and thanked them for coming, and taking ownership in the process. He noted that we all have visions of the future that reflect our own aspirations and said that  his mantra is: “together we can make Dearborn County a better place.”

McCormack introduced the process of amending a comprehensive plan for building a better community. This plan has not been amended or revised since 2009. The advisory committee has many new members replacing the original committee and they have representation from all the communities in the county. (Approximately 50 participants for a county of 50,000 people.)

A comprehensive plan is:

A long range vision for the community

Provides context for making public policy decisions and investments

An assessment of community needs

A statement of community values, goals, and objectives

A blueprint for the community’s long rage physical development plans

A “living document”- one that must be flexible enpugh to respond to changing circumstances yet rigid enough to be meaningful

McCormack also pointed out the differences between Comprehensive Plans and Zoning.

Zoning documents are updated as necessary and specific in nature. They are regulatory documents that deremine what can be built where. They are used as primary tools to evaluate development proposals. They often affect taxes or tax rates as development is approved. They are NOT future oriented- are often reactive to current conditions. If they are too restrictive, they can involve takings.

Comprehensive Plans are more general and advisory in nature. They must be referenced COLLECTIVELY to be effective and retain values. They are used in conjunction with other tools to review development proposals and are used to update and address inconsistencies in regulatory texts and tools.

In fact- state code requires that a comprehensive plan be updated to be effective. It states that the Plan Commission is responsible for the preparation of the Comp Plan. The Plan Commission members provide direction, assist in the facilitation of group sessions, and engage members of the community, the Committee and the County Commissioners.

The advisory committee members’ roles are to provide input throughout  the planning process, author the goals and objectives relevant to the plan’s elements, abd strive for consensus on each issue.

McCormack STRESSED the expectations for the advisory committee members:

Attend all scheduled committee meetings. Continuity of participants is extremely important as we move through the process the next few months

Notify the Plan Commission staff prior to any meeting if unable to attend and BE ON TIME!

Come to the meetings prepared to discuss the agenda topic. You will receive background information on each topic prior to the meetings to review.

SPREAD THE WORD- Share our work and encourage friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to attend the public workshops to provide their input.

Respect other committee members’ opinions and viewpoints and allow one another equal time.

Do not over talk, sidebar or interrupt while another member has the floor.

Everyone is to actively contribute with their best, candid ideas and suggestions.

NO “SILENT DISAGREEMENT” – silences is agreement

Use facts and data, not emotion, ( although it is OK to express your feelings)

When formulation is insufficient, will defer decision and clearly state next steps to decide

Everyone owns the outcome

Once a decision is made it is made. We will reopen a decision only when there is a compelling reason to do so

Listen and pay attention.

McCormack went on to talk about the contents of eth current plan and how we will be breaking some elements out of the plan separately now to cover them better. Those include Legal framework, history and public involvement, environment and natural resources, thoroughfare plans, community centers (includes recreational, cultural opportunities and historic sites), economic development and project listings.

He gave a proposed timeline for the comp plan and includes 2 public workshops in the late winter to early spring of 2014. The final Plan hearings will be in September of 2014, allowing about 11  months to complete the process.

Advisory Committee members were asked two questions about the county. Both were related to describing how we see the county and how others see us and what we would change about the county. A lively discussion was held on these items for about 30 minutes with planning staff taking notes. Two more questions will follow in member emails as we ran out of time this evening.

Two items brought up for information from the Committee:

There is a public meeting SEPARATE from the comp plan on visioning that essentially includes all the elected and appointed officials in the county, cities, and towns. It is on Nov 6 at 6 PM at IVY Tech Riverfront Campus 4th floor Business Conference center. The public can attend to watch this process. It will center more on economic issues, outdoor activities, and statistically based items.

There is also a REGIONAL airport in Batesville at the old Hillenbrand airport site that was privately purchased. It is on Huntersville Road and they handle corporate jets and aviation maintenance there. Someone mentioned Gramman ( sp?) trucking as the owners.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM and members chatted with each other before departing.

Christine Brauer Mueller, Citizen Advisory Committee member

Lawrenceburg Township







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