Trails, master plan undergoing work by planning department

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Planning director Christy Langley has many large projects and initiatives on her plate in 2013, all of which will help shape Noblesville for years and generations to come.

“One of our biggest projects is Midland Trace,” she said.

The joint project has the planning, engineering, parks and economic development departments collaborating to create the new trail. The goal of the project is to develop the old Midland Trace railway line into a trail from Hazel Dell Road west to Gray Road.

“Repurposing the old railway line is an ideal way to promote walking and biking as well as help beautify our environment,” mayor John Ditslear said.

Langley said her department planned to “continue the momentum” of building and connecting trails. The city also has developed www.noblesvillemidlandtrace.org as a way to keep citizens informed and allow them to provide input.

The planning department is currently conducting an audit of the city’s unified development ordinance, which was originally written in 1996. Ditslear said the UDO was created to help establish the rules and regulations for development in Noblesville as well as provide for the administration and enforcement of those rules and regulations.

“Since 1996, the UDO has been revised when necessary, but this is the first comprehensive review of the entire UDO,” he said. “The purpose of the audit is to help ensure the economic competitiveness of Noblesville, compared to other communities.”

In addition to the UDO audit, the city is looking to update its comprehensive master plan.

“It guides all the development in the city. It sets sew areas for houses, individual parking, commercial centers,” Langley said. “It’s a year-long process – the master plan for the entire community.”

Since Langley became director seven months ago, the department is integrating technology with new initiatives. It is currently undergoing a complete digitalization process of its records and building permit processes to create easier access for developers, those in the construction industry and planning department staff.

This digitalization process has many benefits including saving money, increasing staff efficiency, and making it easier to do business with the city. Langley said the public component of the process would be available later this year.

“People can see where their permit is in the stages and make payments online,” she said.

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