Beginning Jan. 1, the city of Elizabethtown will be operating from a new playbook.
During Monday’s special meeting of Elizabethtown City Council, council members unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the Envision Elizabethtown 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The plan previously was approved by the Elizabethtown Planning Commission at its Sept. 22 meeting.
The purpose of a comprehensive plan is to articulate a vision for the future of the city and identify long-range goals and objectives related to various community elements such as land use, transportation, utility, infrastructure, economic development, quality of life, housing and parks.
The vision of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan is “a vibrant and diverse community building upon a strong legacy that supports sustainable growth, healthy lifestyles and active commerce.” Goals were developed based on that vision using the four legacy themes.
Elizabethtown Planning and Development Director Jim Shaw previously said the plan has broad policies and guidelines that apply to the entire city and provide general guidance. To provide greater detail, the plan divides the city into 13 sub areas.
Issues and opportunities are identified for each area and development criteria and guidelines were tailored to address those issues and opportunities. Within each sub area, a few targeted planning areas exist with more specific detailed guideline.
Shaw also previously said the biggest difference between this plan and the current one is the addition of an action plan. There are 147 action steps. Twenty-two of those are ongoing activities. The remainder are ranked as high, medium or low priorities based on how soon they should be addressed.
The action items include wide-ranging tasks such as design and construct the Buffalo Lake Trail from Commerce Drive to downtown; develop a comprehensive housing strategy that identifies a variety of housing options; review the zoning and subdivision regulations to encourage creativity, flexibility and innovation in the design of new developments; and develop a database to prioritize wastewater infrastructure replacement and expansion.
The action steps will involve many city departments as well as outside agencies.
The city hired Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group to facilitate the planning process, which has included several methods of community engagement, including public meetings at Pritchard Community Center and the WesBanco Gallery at The State Theater.
Mayor Jeff Gregory said he thought the city received significant participation, noting several members of the community partipated to put the plan together.
Councilman Terry Shipp agreed, stating there was good dialogue that came from all the meetings since starting the process in May 2019.
Elizabethtown has not fully updated and rewritten its comprehensive plan since 2004.
“It was time for us to do it and I am glad we got to do it,” Gregory said. “I’m excited about it. I think they did a great job.”