Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 27, 2013

Input sought to update city's master plan

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL sherry.vanarsdall@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — A plan for the City of Goshen will be updated in the coming year.

The Comprehensive Plan and Community Vision:2004-2013 sets policies and goals for the future land use and development of public ways, places, land, structures and utilities in the community, said Abby Wiles, Assistant Planning/Zoning Administrator.

“It is prepared with input from citizens and community leaders. Plans never expire, they are just updated,” Wiles said. “From what we have heard since we talked about updating the plan is that citizens love the plan and they like the emphasis on sustainability and don’t want to compromise the integrity of the plan.”

So four topic-driven public meetings will be held from January to March to gather input on the plan update.

“The public meetings will be participatory, with small group table discussions and interactive exercises. We want to drum up interest in our meetings and get people to participate,” Wiles said. “Information from the meetings will be used to develop the polices and goals of the plan. The public is invited to participate in an online survey, which will soon be released, to provide input.”

Sustainability standards

Wiles was excited to share the news that as part of the Comprehensive Plan update process, the City of Goshen has been selected to participate as one of 10 pilot communities with the American Planning Association (APA).

The communities work nationally with the APA Sustaining Places program to develop comprehensive plan standards for sustainability.

“It is exciting to be part of the pilot program. The APA is just one component of the piece of the plan,” Wiles said.

Over the next few months, Goshen and the other nine pilot communities will evaluate APA’s draft standards, consider a designation program for Comprehensive Plans and report findings to the APA.

“A diverse group of communities has been selected to serve as pilots, with populations ranging from 800 residents to more than one million people,” she said.

At the public meetings, community members may be asked their input on areas that the APA considers low achievement in the 2004-2013 comprehensive plan.

Some of the areas included conserve and reuse historic resources; implement green building design and energy conservation; plan for the provision and protection of green infrastructure; and encourage development that respects natural topography.

“The plan is to truly reflect the voice of the people. This is being done 100 percent in-house,” Wiles said, smiling. “We are not hiring any planning firm. This is being planned by staff internally. This is something our community likes. This plan is being implemented and not just sitting on the shelf.”

The four public meetings will have refreshments and are as follows:

• Quality of Life — Thursday, Jan. 9 at 10:30 a.m., Greencroft (Jennings Auditorium), 1820 Greencroft Blvd.

• Economic Development and Redevelopment — Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 10 a.m., Chamber of Commerce, 232 S. Main Street

• People, Neighborhoods and Housing — Thursday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m., Rieth Interpretive Center, 410 W. Plymouth Avenue

• Land Use, Infrastructure and Transportation — Monday, march 24 at 6:30 p.m., Goshen Pubic Library, 601 S. Fifth Street

For more information, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/compplanupdate2014 or email at planning@goshencity.com.