Planning And Zoning Boards Approve Bedford’s Comprehensive Plan

(BEDFORD) – The Bedford Plan Commission and Zoning Board members met at the Stonegate Education and Arts Center Tuesday evening to approve the City’s Comprehensive Plan for the next five years.

Bedford’s Comprehensive Plan was approved Tuesday evening by the Planning and Zoning boards

The last Comprehensive Plan was developed in 2010, most of that plan was completed. This plan will be a launching pad off of the 2010 Comprehensive Plan. The Downtown Plan was developed in 2013, and the new Downtown Plan is a launching pad from the original.

The Downtown Plan is also available to view at the Bedford City Hall, Bedford Chamber of Commerce or Bedford Public Library.

The Plan will be a blueprint in how the city may change a few planning and zoning codes.

Here are some of the major projects completed since the 2010 Plan was put in place:

  • Established Housing Authority
  • Amended Site Plan Approval
  • Established Economic Development Committee
  • Established Downtown Revitalization Committee
  • Established A Healthier Lifestyle Committee
  • Adopted Landscape Ordinance
  • Required Sidewalk Construction with New Development
  • Added Site Plan Review Process for Historic Review Board
  • Amended Code for Accessory Uses
  • Annually Reviewed Building Code Fee Schedule

Phase One (Inventory/Analysis) of the Comprehensive Plan started in March of 2019 with the kick-off meeting on March 13, 2019.  

The second steering committee meeting or Phase Two (Two Generate New Ideas) was held on June 28, 2019, with a review of existing conditions, challenges, and opportunities.

A four day Community Workshop was conducted from June 28 – July 1, 2019, which included stakeholders, interviews, focus groups, launch community survey, and a public open house. (Phase Three included – Goals, Objectives, and Initiatives.)

The third steering committee was conducted on September 23rd which reviewed the draft and made final recommendations.

Patti Yount of Lochmuller Group left, and Mayor Shawna Girgis talk about the new Comprehensive Plan that will guide Bedford in the next six years.

A SWOT analysis was conducted which is a simple but powerful tool that helps communities develop effective asset-based strategies and identify areas of concern. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 

The weakness in Bedford is addressed in the plan. The population is aging, there are limited housing options available, and the public school system is underperforming.

The largest threats include the loss of talent and human capital through “brain drain” as young educated residents leave for larger cities and employment opportunities, loss of major employers, the social and financial impact of the opioid crisis, and the decline of natural amenities.

Members of the Planning and Zoning Board met together during the special meeting of the Plan Commission.

The assets in Bedford include:

  • High Demand for Housing
  • Proximity to Growth
  • Robust Parks and Recreation System
  • Strong Civic Government
  • Historic Character
  • Strong Institutional Connections

The issues for Bedford include:

  • Retaining and Attracting Young Residents
  • Limited Economic Diversity
  • Limited Accessibility and Low Mobility
  • Aging Housing Stock
  • Low Cultural Diversity
  • Poor Community Health.

The top three things residents of Bedford wants to change include:

  • Availability of Jobs
  • Quality of Schools
  • Sense of Community Pride

The highest priorities for the City of Bedford include:

  • Improve Education Outcomes
  • Promote Small and Local Businesses
  • Promote Economic Development and Local Job Opportunities
  • Assure Sufficient Infrastructure
  • Community Facilities
  • Services to Accommodate Growth, Reduce Crime and Reduce Poverty

The Indiana Code requires the Plan Commission to adopt a comprehensive plan if the municipality wants to exercise zoning powers. At a minimum, a comprehensive plan must contain a statement of objectives for the future development of the jurisdiction. A statement of policy for the land use development of the jurisdiction and a state of policy for the development of public ways, places, lands, structures, and utilities.

“I look forward to working with the new Mayor and City Council in determining what is best for Bedford,” said Brad Bough who attended last night’s Planning and Zoning Meeting.

The Comprehensive Plan was approved Tuesday evening and will now move on to the Bedford City Council for final approval. At this time the comment period on the plan has begun and residents are encouraged to look at the plan at the following locations, Bedford City Hall, Bedford Chamber of Commerce and Bedford Public Library.

 All comments must be in writing and sent to Attention Katy Shackleford, Lochmuller Group 3502 Woodview Trace #150, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268. Or call for any questions or comments at 314-446-5404.