About the Plan & UDO

Why plan?

Planning is essential in order for a community to define their collective vision for the future. Planning reviews and evaluates existing conditions, crafts a collective vision, and establishes clear goals and objectives for achieving that vision.

What is the purpose of a comprehensive plan?

A comprehensive plan is an official policy document guided by the collective insight of elected officials, community leaders and residents to create a long-term vision for the community and to inform land use, infrastructure, and other development decisions. 

What topics will the comprehensive plan address?

The comprehensive plan will cover topics such as economic development, land use, housing, public infrastructure, natural resources/environment, and quality of life amenities.

What timeframe are we planning for?

The plan will outline recommendations 10-20 years into the future. 

Are there legal requirements for a comprehensive plan?

Yes, it is governed by Indiana Code 36-7-4.  The plan must contain a statement of objectives on future development, a statement of policy for land use development, and a statement of policy for the development of public ways, public places, public lands, public structure, and public utilities.  The statute also provides a community the option of including more components in the plan to address unique local concerns.

What is the difference between planning and zoning?

The comprehensive plan is a long-range policy document. It is a guide to help inform decision making, but it is not binding. Many of the recommendations in a comprehensive plan may be implemented or legally enforced through local zoning and subdivision ordinances. As ordinances, these documents and the rules within them are law. Just like speed limits and animal control regulations, if not followed, there can be fines and penalties.

What is a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)?

A unified development ordinance, or UDO, is a legal document that combines the zoning ordinance, subdivision control ordinance, and other desired development rules such as drainage regulations and construction standards into one document.

What are the benefits of a UDO compared to separate zoning, subdivision, and other development ordinances?

A UDO provides a more comprehensive approach to ensuring development projects meet a community’s desired land use, economic development, and environmental goals. It can help streamline varied and sometimes complex development regulations, while ensuring consistency in terminology, definitions, and processes.

Why create a UDO now?

Through this process, the County’s current zoning and development regulations will be reviewed and updated as needed to reflect the vision and policy goals of the new comprehensive plan. The UDO can also include current trends and best practices, and potentially reduce or combine zoning districts that are no longer utilized, or create new districts where needed. It will also include an examination of standards related to parking, landscaping, and signage among other issues.

Who approves the plan?

The plan will be presented to the Putnam County Plan Commission for their review. The Plan Commission needs to recommend approval of the plan to the Board of Commissioners. Final plan approval is by the Board of Commissioners.

How can Putnam County keep this plan from sitting on a shelf?

The most common criticism of planning documents is that they get put on a shelf when finished, and do not get looked at again. For comprehensive plans to remain relevant and get used, they typically include these elements:

  • A clear vision for the community;
  • Public input and support;
  • Clear action items;
  • Community leaders responsible for implementing action items;
  • A focus on realistic goals.