Groups to meet to shape Elkhart Countys new zoning laws
Posted: 08/06/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Angelle Barbazon
The pair of committees, appointed by the Elkhart County Plan Commission, will get their first taste of what’s to come in the next year-and-a-half on Wednesday and Thursday. The committees will begin where the plan commission left off last year after the board attempted to update the 40-year-old ordinance. Toward the end of the revision process, citizens expressed concern that the new zoning laws were too restrictive and charged that the ordinance hindered development.
“These first meetings will bring everyone up to speed on the zoning ordinance and what they’re trying to accomplish with it and the overall goals for this specific rewrite,” explained Brian Mabry, county planning manager and zoning administrator.
The goals, he said, are to make the ordinance more user-friendly and easier to understand. Another goal is to address conflict-ridden definitions and regulations.
The plan commission formed the two groups — the policy committee and the technical committee — in July. The groups include almost 30 people, which Mabry said is “just right.”
“If you include too many people, it just gets hard to get everyone together to plan, and if you don’t have enough people, you don’t have all interests represented which is definitely something we want,” he said.
The policy committee will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Elkhart County Public Services Building in Goshen. The group includes members from local builder associations, realtors, engineers, surveyors and citizens involved in the agricultural industry. The members will shape the ordinance’s rules, Mabry said.
The second group will meet at 1 p.m. Thursday. Comprising of mostly county planning staff, the technical committee is charged with looking at the ordinance from a enforcement point of view.
“It’s a good project, and we’re excited to get it kicked off again,” Mabry said.