Land use docs nearing completion

August 4th, 2017

Board hears updates on zoning ordinances, guidelines

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Four major planning documents are moving forward toward adoption in upcoming months, according to reports presented Thursday during a meeting of the governing board of the Joint Land Use Department.

The plans include a more coordinated economic development strategy formulated by a work group consisting of representatives from the city, county and Greater Fort Wayne; a planning document guiding development in the Bluffton/Lower Huntington Road corridor in Waynedale and a zoning ordinance for Woodburn.

Also in the works: what were called “tweaks” to address wording and consistency issues found in the newly aligned county and city zoning ordinances that went into effect at the beginning of last year.

Kim Bowman, executive director of the planning department, told board members the projects were aiming at adoption by the end of the year or in early 2018, before the start of the construction season.

The economic development document likely would not involve amending the comprehensive plan but would be issued as a separate document outlining specific goals, priority projects, possible strategies for accomplishing them and timetables, Bowman said.

Such projects might include future phases of riverfront development and the General Electric campus renovation or projects identified as needed by residents, she said.

Answering a question from board member Greg Leatherman, Fort Wayne director of community development, Bowman said the document would not likely include specific properties for acquisition. Leatherman advised against that step as likely to cause trouble in real estate negotiations.

She said the document could guide funding and change of use requests by planning and legislative bodies. The project, which started in February, should wrap up this month and be ready for adoption by the county commissioners and City Council.

The Waynedale document, which was requested by that community's leaders, could come to the City Council by the end of the month or in September, Bowman said.

The Waynedale Business Chamber is conducting an online survey through Aug. 26 asking community and area residents about their views of the area and its future direction at, Alex Cornwell, chamber president, said in an email.

The Woodburn ordinance has been delayed because of Air National Guard service by Woodburn Mayor Joe Kelsey, but officials hope get to the county plan commission for adoption by the end of the year and be implemented in February. 

The amendments to the new zoning ordinances should be ready for a plan commission public hearing by October and adoption by legislative bodies, including Huntertown, by November.

“These are not for the most part substantive amendments. These are items, primarily clarifications and issues that have come up, that are fairly minor,” said Patrick Fahey, senior planner.

A public hearing will likely be scheduled in October or November, Bowman said.

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