The city of Fort Wayne and Allen County plan to spend over a half-million dollars to update their shared growth and development plan. The first and last one was adopted in 2007 under the name Plan-it Allen.
The Fort Wayne and Allen County Land Use Governing Board is recommending that the city and county hire Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne Associates to spend two years preparing the next plan, according to a statement from Mary Tyndall, city community development spokeswoman.
On Sept. 10, an ordinance for approval of the contract was introduced to Fort Wayne City Council to fund 50% of the project costs, or $333,530. The other 50% will need approval from Allen County Council. The Allen County commissioners and Mayor Tom Henry will be asked to approve the project contract.
The governing board received eight proposals to develop the plan and interviewed five teams before beginning negotiations with Houseal Lavigne Associates. Houseal Lavigne is a professional consulting firm that specializes in all aspects of community planning, urban design, and economic development, according to the statement from Tyndall. They have worked with more than 250 communities across the country, including a wide range of public and private sector planning, development, and design-related assignments in 22 states.
The new plan will:
• create a shared vision for future growth and development
• encompass meaningful and inclusive public engagement
• identify stakeholders
• establish clear guidance with a user-friendly document
• establish an achievable implementation plan
The project is expected to start in January and be complete at the end of 2021 and will also provide guidance for Huntertown, Grabill, Monroeville and Woodburn.
Plan-it Allen was the first time that a local comprehensive plan was created jointly by the city and county. Many of the elements of that plan have either been accomplished or are now outdated.
As Business Weekly reported in July before the deadline for proposals, Kim Bowman, executive director of the Allen County Department of Planning Services, mentioned the alignment of city and county zoning ordinances, the adoption of consistent traffic infrastructure standards and the updating of building ordinances for minor subdivisions not served by public sewer as Plan-it Allen strategies that brought about improvement.
The county building ordinance update was completed in 2008, and by 2014 the city and county zoning ordinances were 90% to 95% aligned, “somewhat from the comprehensive plan, somewhat in response to the city and the county land use management departments merging,” Bowman said for the July Business Weekly article.
An important step toward updating the comprehensive plan will take place when Greater Fort Wayne rolls out this fall a 5-year economic development strategy for all of Allen County. That area has changed considerably in the past decade. A strategy in Plan-it Allen supports carefully planned, coordinated, compatible mixed-use developments; however, different communities have varying views on what’s compatible and what types of developments they’ll tolerate, Sherese Fortriede, a senior planner for Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division, previously told Business Weekly.
The creation of comprehensive plans is governed by state law, though not required. The public will have input throughout the planning process, according to Tyndall’s statement.