2020 vision: City of Noblesville drafts updated comprehensive plan

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A revised comprehensive plan is expected by city officials to further establish Noblesville’s vision for 2020 and beyond.

The plan was completed in 2013 with an update in 2016. Community and Economic Development Director Sarah Reed said when a comprehensive plan is established, best practice is to update it every five years.

“Especially in growing suburban Indiana right now, two years from now (the plan) is not going to have the same impact, even if all you’re doing is updating demographics and checking off items you’ve done so you can keep yourself accountable,” Reed said.

A comprehensive plan is a document with supporting information that provides a community’s vision and strategic framework.

“The things it talks about in here help us provide services efficiently, look how developmental patterns impact the location of services, the extension of services,” Reed said. “(Such as) we have to make sure things like sewer and water are available before development happens. It helps us keep developers accountable as they come in and bring new developments. They are required to do certain improvements and pay certain impact fees to help with improvements to those services like road networks, park impact fees and sanitary extension.”

One of the centtral parts of the comprehensive plan is a land-use map, which dictates what uses are encouraged in different areas of Noblesville.

“If we were to imagine what we want Noblesville to be and where we want specific uses to be located, this is what the future land map dictates,” Reed said. “All new development gets weighed against this comprehensive master plan. You have to show you meet the intent of the comprehensive plan when you come in for development.”

One of the differences in the 2020 comprehensive plan land-use map is more residential development in the downtown area on vacant lots.

“That’s one of our priorities. We are trying to build back up our central hub district a little bit,” Reed said.

The comprehensive plan is currently a draft, and a final vote is scheduled for Feb. 11 at the Noblesville Common Council meeting.

Reed said the plan outlines items that were completed in the 2013 version and items that need more focus for 2020 and beyond.

“You can tell a big difference on some of (the items) that were completed,” Reed said. “Our focus now is to gear more towards design and placemaking. That is how we look and how people feel when they come to downtown and the City of Noblesville. We want to make sure they know they’re here when they are here and remember us positively when they leave.”

Other key items are transportation and housing.

“We have a whole section in here dedicated to a thoroughfare plan update,” Reed said. “Housing we improved at, but it is a continually evolving conversation that also ties into the workforce. That would be one (item) we did work on and will continue to work on.”

Another focus is to continue to address is the city’s downtown. A community engagement manager supervises design and placemaking for the area. The manager also directs the streetscape master plan and the effort to be proactive in preserving and enhancing the city’s authentic downtown appearance.

For more, visit cityofnoblesville.org. Email comments, concerns or suggestions to compplan@noblesville.in.us.

The drafted land-use map for Noblesville. (Submitted map)

 In the works

The first phase of an update to the comprehensive plan has been completed. The city conducted a public open house to receive feedback about the project and had a committee working on the plan until it was approximately 90 percent complete.

With Mayor Chris Jensen taking office last month, the plan was reviewed and updated.

“(The process) was reviewing and updating Phase 1 information and adding more public input and feedback from the former and now current administration,” Communications Manager Robert Herrington said.

The most notable change was the updated future land-use map.

“We added an additional residential category for downtown, and it’s going to be called traditional residential because it didn’t fit into the mixed-use residential category or the more suburban residential category,” Community and Economic Development Director Sarah Reed said. 

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