BROWNSBURG — By unanimous vote, the Town Council here approved the much-talked-about 2020 comprehensive plan, a document that is intended to shape and give implementation ideas to the town going forward. It’s a process that began in 2011 and culminated at a meeting Thursday evening.
“One large property owner in our community had some issues and concerns with the proposed language in the plan in regard to their development area,” said Grant Kleinhenz, town manager. “We met with him, and while we are not recommending any changes to the plan, to remove their concerns I think we have better understanding of what those were and how we can address them moving forward.”
Added town Planning Director Todd Barker, “The essence is that it’s a road map or policy guide, to help set ground rules for private investment and development, and provides a foundation for decision making based on community consensus that has taken place as part of the process.”
The comprehensive plan focuses on the existing conditions in town, the demographics, market analysis, and community knowledge in coordination with how to develop the town going forward. It includes market analysis, potential land use, traffic policies, and revitalization, as well as recommendation for public facilities.
“Where do we want to go and how do we get there?” said Barker of what the plan intends to answer.
“One of the key elements of the comprehensive plan is that it’s market based. The market analysis is everywhere from retail, industrial, office, and residential. Understanding what we have today and the visual preference is included as part of the plan as well.
“The growth area of the plan is one piece that really kind of helps focus, and we all agree we should really try to help the areas in town first that aren’t yet developed or fully developed,” added Barker. “It helps us refocus and think OK, if somebody comes to us 2.5 miles from the town and wants to stretch utilities, there’s an enormous cost in doing this and there are things that maintaining those structures take a period of years’ and this plan focuses on being more concentric within the town.”
Barker also talked about the potentially attractive area near Ronald Reagan Parkway that gives recommendations for certain areas for enhancement, not only through development but visually, as visual representations of what the town might look like in the years to come. Barker noted that proper development of this area will affect the town for the next century.
He also pointed out one of the main achievements of the comprehensive plan was the implementation aspect of it and system of checks and balances that will occur annually.
“As many know, the difference we’ve had in using past plans is how do we implement this, use this document going forward?” Barker said. “There’s an action agenda that talks about actions steps in the short term, mid term, and long term and how to utilize that every year going forward.”
Lodging and hospitality expect to potentially be one of the cruxes of discussion, as Barker pointed out that there is research planned to see what type of demand there is for that industry in the coming years.
Another aspect of the comprehensive plan is its fluidity.
“It is a living document and it’s just a matter of going to the main body in charge of it, the planning commission,” said Kleinhenz.
Added Barker, “We plan on having a yearly review to understand the decisions of the past and how does that fit into the plan on an annual basis. The comprehensive plan is just a policy, it’s not a law.”
“I think plans often have a lot of things that sound good, but I think with this plan we’ve really tried to recommend things that need to be done — corridor plans, settings, facade improvement programs, image, branding, signage — those things need to be done and that will allow staff to bring a budget to the council over the next five to 10 years that will allow us to implement a lot of these recommendations,” said Kleinhenz of how it will help in the future.
A copy of the comprehensive plan can be downloaded on the town’s website at brownsburg.org.