Archive for June 21st, 2006

Indiana Land Resources Council has been reinstated

The Muncie Star Press is reporting that Gov. Daniels will be “re-populating” the Indiana Land Resources Council sometime in August of this year:

The state will re-establish the Indiana Land Resources Council (ILRC) and take other steps to preserve Indiana’s farm land, including drafting a model zoning ordinance for local governments.

Sarah Simpson, manager of regulatory affairs for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), announced the administration’s plans to save farm land during a recent videoconference broadcast to 25 locations throughout Indiana.

The Governor effectively dissolved the board in January of 2005 by asking for the resignations of its staff and members just before it was to present recommendations on planning policy to Lt. Governor Skillman.

In 1999, the Legislature established the Council (IC 15-7-9) to study and make recommendations on land use and planning issues. After it was dissolved, I introduced legislation to establish a new “Growth and Development Task Force” (HB 1242) to re-establish a working group in this important field. HB 1242 did not pass, but its goals included making several policy recommendations that could be picked up by the ILRC:

(1) Ensuring a process for making development decisions that are predictable, fair, and cost effective.
(2) Establishing ways to direct development toward existing communities and existing infrastructure.
(3) Integrating fiscal, transportation, energy, and environmental policies with land use planning.
(4) Encouraging the preservation of farmland, open space, and critical environmental areas.

I hope the new ILRC looks to an integrated planning approach that not only creates quality development, but also helps keep taxes down by fully utilizing our existing infrastructure.

The initial comments on the goals of the new ILRC are encouraging:

“We have some exciting objectives for the council, (including) state incentives … and providing a model ordinance and land-use tools to local government,” Simpson said. “We have a very aggressive initiative for that council when they are reconvened.”

Indiana needs a land-use strategy because the rapid loss of prime agricultural land to development compromises the future ability to feed the nation; reduces open space, wildlife habitat and groundwater recharge; creates rural-suburban conflicts; and requires the costly extension of roads, sewers and other infrastructure, Simpson said.

I look forward to following the Council’s progress. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about the ILRC or land use policy in general.

5 comments June 21st, 2006


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