April 3, 2014
The Ellettsville, Indiana Plan Commission met in regular session on Thursday, April 3, 2014, in the Fire Department Training and Conference Room located at 5080 West State Road 46. Terry Baker called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Don Calvert led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll Call: Members present were: Terry Baker, President; Russ Ryle, Vice President; Don Calvert, David Drake, Dan Swafford, Pat Wesolowski and Sandra Hash. Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, and Darla Brown, Town Attorney, were also present.
Approval of the Minutes – March 6, 2014
Terry Baker entertained a motion for approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on March 6, 2014. Dan Swafford so moved. Russ Ryle seconded. Motion carried.
Comprehensive Plan Town of Ellettsville, Indiana – Discussion to Revise and Update
Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, explained the Comprehensive Plan has been around since 2002 and was updated in 2007. It was to be updated every two years. She suggested comparing the plans of Brownsburg and Columbus which have been uploaded to the web page and developing a strategy of how far they want to move along. This can take up to a year. She would like to implement the new developments and PUDs into the Comprehensive Plan. This document will be formally adopted. The first step would be to appoint a committee or do it as a group. Second step would be to profile and inventory the municipality including history, cultural aspects, population, transportation, housing, environment and other resources. Graphics and maps will coincide with those aspects. A vision statement will be updated. There will be goals based on step 1 and strategies, actions, policies and programs can be implemented to reach a municipality’s vision for the future. Step 5 would be the Plan Commission producing a draft of the plan, holding a public hearing and Town Council adopting it by resolution. There are three state requirements: statement of objectives for the future development of a jurisdiction, statement of policy for the land use development of a jurisdiction and the statement of policy for development of public ways, places, structures and utilities. There are differences in the 1963 study: commercial focus on strip commercial development east along State Road 46 to Smith Pike; industry potential was never developed; neighborhoods serving businesses in downtown have diminished; housing projects have created urban sprawl; subdivisions are disconnected and a loss of central community. There is a re-focus of identity of residents back to Ellettsville, development of policies that centralize services and update the plan every two years.
Connie Griffin thinks bulleted items need expanded, the thoroughfare plan at the end of the document will be updated and they should focus to 2030. She requested their ideas on what she should be working on. Mr. Baker asked if it would be better to have a committee or work as a group. Ms. Griffin replied a committee would have to work in addition to the regularly scheduled meeting. She would like to do it as a group.
Russ Ryle commented there are two parallel documents to a comprehensive plan: thoroughfare/transportation plan and the stormwater drainage plan. At the time, the 2002 and 2007 versions were put together, he set in on some of the meetings. It was the tenor of the group not to get specific because it was a plan and not hard facts. They didn’t know what the world was going to be like in five years so they set broad concepts and hoped to stay within the boundaries. Being more specific would be beneficial in some aspects. In a broad outline without specific language they need to be cognizant and update the transportation and stormwater plans. The biggest thing he sees is they’re getting an increased density of population per square mile. They’ve got less bare ground, fields and forests and more roof tops and pavement. Then, when there is a heavy rain they have more water trying to go down the same little stream a lot quicker which presents a problem. They will have to skillfully coordinate what they plan to put in the surrounding three to four square miles of Ellettsville which is where the Town will logically expand as it moves its boundaries out. It will go from farm density which is traditionally 16 households per square mile to 16 households in a block. That presents challenges for both drainage and transportation with the traffic load it puts on a grid designed for rural agriculture.
Terry Baker thinks they need to focus on doing the Comprehensive Plan in steps so they don’t miss anything. Mr. Ryle wants to make sure when it is done that they have something that flows. Ms. Hash noted statistics need updated with the 2010 information.
Connie Griffin presented the Brownsburg Comprehensive Plan. They can also look at the Monroe County Plan and the following: Ellettsville Area Rural Community Plan, East Ellettsville Plan, State Highway 46 Corridor Management Plan, Pedestrian Corridor Planning and Economic Development for the Heritage Crossing Development Area. Ms. Hash advised an East Ellettsville Area Plan was done when Bill Land was the planner. It discussed as new development came into Ellettsville they needed to encourage their heritage of limestone by having people use monument signs instead of higher signs and to reserve the larger homes to help them keep their identity from Bloomington. Those are suggestions and if they’re not in the planning code how effective are they? Ms. Griffin replied it is meant to pull out the goals and what they see for their community to grow towards. The codes are not spelled out in the Comprehensive Plan but are implemented by it. When they do a zoning change they look back to the Comprehensive Plan as to how things are handled.
Russ Ryle asked if the Comprehensive Plan does not have the force of law but is just a model, suggestion or vision. Darla Brown replied that is correct. The planning and zoning codes are how to implement them. The fact something varies from the code would carry more weight than stating it varied from the Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Griffin thinks their goal is to bring the same ideology into play. Ms. Hash suggested after completing the Comprehensive Plan returning to their code and bringing it into compliance. Mr. Ryle noted the current Comprehensive Plan is 64 pages. How many pages is the Brownsburg Plan? Ms. Griffin replied the Brownsburg Plan is 196 pages. Ellettsville’s plan will remain the same size. Mr. Ryle suggested since they’re using statistics a major revision every ten years with an interim revision at five years may be a more practical timeline. Mr. Baker disagreed. By updating certain sections of the plan every two years gives them an opportunity for things to be addressed before they get out of hand.
Connie Griffin has the following list of other elements from state code she wants in the Comprehensive Plan: surveys and studies of current conditions and future growth within the jurisdiction and adjoining jurisdictions; maps, plats, charts and descriptive material presenting basic information, locations, extent or character of any of the following: history, population and physical site conditions; land use including the height, area, bulk, location and use of private and public structures and premises; population densities, community centers and neighborhood units or areas needing redevelopment and conservation; public ways including bridges, viaducts, subways, parkways and other public places; sewers, sanitation and drainage including handling, treatment and disposal of excess drainage water, sewage, garbage, refuse and other waste; air, land and water pollution; flood control and irrigation; public and private utilities such as water, light, heat, communication and other services; transportation including rail, bus, truck, air and water transportation and their terminal facilities; local mass transit including taxi cabs, buses and street elevated or underground railways; parks and recreation including parks, playgrounds, reservations, wildlife refuges and other public places of a recreational nature; public buildings and institutions including governmental administration and service buildings; hospitals, infirmaries, clinics, penal and correctional institutions and other civic and social service buildings; education including location and extent of schools and post-secondary education institutions; land utilization including agricultural, forests and other uses; conservation of energy, water, soil and agricultural and mineral resources; any other factors that are part of a physical, economic or social situation within the jurisdiction; reports, maps, charts and recommendations of setting forth plans and policies for the development, redevelopment, improvement, extension and revision of the subjects and physical situations set out in subdivisions of this section of the jurisdiction so as to substantially accomplish the purposes of this chapter; short and long range development programs of public work projects for the purpose of stabilizing industry; and employment for the purpose of eliminating unplanned, unsightly, untimely and extravagant projects.
Pat Wesoloski asked the population and area of Brownsburg. Ms. Griffin answered she didn’t know. Ms. Hash stated it is much bigger than Ellettsville. Mr. Ryle suggested it is not a closed list and they may come up with things to add. They need to prioritize what is important to the Town and its size. Ms. Hash prefers to take what they already have and update it. If it is lacking something they can interject some new chapters. Mr. Baker added they need to cover what Indiana law says is required. Mr. Ryle asked if they cover the three elements mentioned earlier then they can call it a comprehensive plan. Ms. Griffin replied that was correct. She will email the Indiana Code to the members and the Comprehensive Plan is on the Planning Department website. She is looking for feedback and then the next meeting they will return for brainstorming. It will be a slow start due to the Heritage Trail. Mr. Baker commented it has been too long since it has been visited and they haven’t returned to it as they should have. When there is not much on the agenda they can cover a small section at a time until they get through it. Ms. Hash suggested making it a goal for them to review a certain portion and come back with comments on it. Mr. Ryle noted there are a lot of good things from the 2007 revision they will amplify and continue forward with. They need to organize it to where somebody who doesn’t know much about planning or the Town can find what they’re looking for. One of the first things they need to outline is an index. Mr. Baker advised they couldn’t start an index until they decide what is going to be put in it. Ms. Griffin noted the historian of the group could start with the history section and she could start with maps and the census. Ms. Hash noted there is a book, The History of Ellettsville, at the library.
Russ Ryle noted there was a residents’ survey from 2006. Is doing another resident’s survey an element to the process? Ms. Griffin replied surveys are the elements of some comprehensive plans but they cost money and could be something they do in the future. Ms. Hash noted the survey was done by a SPEA student. Mr. Wesoloski noted when you look down State Road 46 there are a lot of places people think are in Ellettsville and they’re not. If there is a comprehensive plan than the Town of Ellettsville should be the Town of Ellettsville. If there are ten houses up and down a street not in Ellettsville then they should be put in Ellettsville. He doesn’t think they can pick and choose where they want to go. Mr. Ryle stated financially and politically he is biting into tough issues. Theoretically, yes, everything within the four corners of the boundaries should be Ellettsville but involuntary annexation is nasty. Mr. Wesoloski thinks it needs to be talked about. Mr. Ryle said it cost a lot of money to do involuntary annexations. Mr. Wesoloski reiterated he thinks Ellettsville should be Ellettsville. Ms. Griffin said that would be a future annexation plan.
Sandra Hash will review the history and talk to Mike Cornman. Mr. Ryle volunteered to work on principal policies and the Thoroughfare Plan. Ms. Griffin suggested they all review the principals. She will review key land use recommendations, general use map and traffic count. Don Calvert will review use of the zoning code to implement Ellettsville. Dan Swafford will review the vision sections. David Drake will review the glossary of planning terms. Pat Wesoloski will review shopping needs and restaurants. Rick Coppock is to review the cross-sectional session. Mr. Ryle noted they’re writing a plan for Ellettsville as it exists today. Is this plan going to speak to what they do with the land they had, how they wish to add land and how they want to see it managed over the next five to ten years? They have a vision but will they get more concrete with it? They need to look at pervious paving material. They need to cut down on run-off. The creek going out of Town isn’t going to carry any more water. This plan can’t be done without thoroughfare and stormwater sections.
Pat Wesolowski reiterated he wants a map of what is and not in Ellettsville. Ms. Griffin will produce a map with only properties in Ellettsville’s jurisdiction.
Planning Department Updates
Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, is working on Heritage Trail. As for the construction in the floodway permits she is waiting to identify the areas where there is the most blockage and has been videotaping the rain events. She is scheduled to walk the creek with Jim Ragle, Street Commissioner, to geographically identify the areas for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) and the Army Corp of Engineers. Ms. Hash thanked her for the work she is doing to secure the permit.
Next month there will be an annexation on Steven Arbuckle’s property off of Thomas Road. His home has been annexed into Ellettsville but his barn is in Monroe County. All documents will be posted on the website. Mr. Baker wants to list New Business before Old Business on the next meeting agenda so they can deal with the annexation first.
Russ Ryle objects to the zoning map on the Planning Department website because it is not Ellettsville. Ms. Griffin advised it is a stock map. Mr. Ryle suggested dropping an image from the GIS of downtown on the web page. Ms. Griffin noted she has added information on flooding to the website. Ms. Hash advised when she went to the COAD meeting they were preparing a list on how to clean up after a flood. Mr. Ryle added the Red Cross has a supply packet they will give to people and suggested adding a link on the website.
Russ Ryle asked if the analysis of the Vine Street flooding was completed. Ms. Griffin replied yes. No one had flood insurance and the data she collected was the water height on the outside of the structures.
Terry Baker entertained a motion to adjourn. Pat Wesolowski made a motion to adjourn. Don Calvert seconded. Motion carried. Terry Baker adjourned the meeting at 7:02 p.m.