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Comp plan process nears completion

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

Several months into a planning process, some of the details of a new county comprehensive plan are beginning to emerge. Some of that will be shared Monday with the Fayette County Area Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.

Anna Dungan of the Fayette Community Foundation and Becky Marvel, community wellness coordinator, have shared updates on the plan with various boards in recent days. Dungan spoke to City Council and the Fayette County Council; Marvel to the Fayette County Board of Commissioners.

Dungan said that a community development team from Purdue University has been responsible for conducting a series of workshops here and gathering data that will go into a comprehensive plan. The Foundation has provided financial sponsorship for this work, which has also involved Fayette County Community Voices, many local volunteers and the area planning office. 

The value of a comprehensive plan comes in its implementation, she said. The new plan will give some direction to government groups as well as funding organizations such as the Foundation. But, she said, the community has to decide to follow the plan’s recommendations.

The previous plan, put together many years ago, called for increased development of recreational facilities. That is one reason the Foundation has been instrumental in development of the new River’s Edge park, she said.

As an example of what can happen when a plan is disregarded, she used the city’s northern expansion. The current comprehensive plan, which is several years old, recommended that the city should not be expanding further north. But then a farm was sold and Walmart was constructed. Now, there is no sidewalk along State Road 1 to Walmart and insufficient right-of-way to construct one.

She also noted a community need for regularly scheduled public transportation.

As a result of the workshop-style meetings, Purdue has provided updated reports, profiles, data layers and public input that are intended to serve as a foundation for a formal comprehensive plan update. The next steps include a meeting with the economic development focus group on Nov. 21, an ongoing health assessment conducted by Purdue nursing students that will be completed in December, and a report review and finalization by the end of December.

Then, Dungan said, it will be time to prepare the new comprehensive plan. She said about 80 percent of the work will have been done by then and that the city and county should be considering hiring a firm to prepare the report.

Dungan is scheduled to present the comprehensive plan update to a joint meeting of the APC and BZA at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 500 Central Ave. the public may attend.