Martinsville Indiana look ahead as development looks to the city – Reporter-Times


MARTINSVILLE — With I-69 now in the city’s limits, officials in Martinsville are looking ahead and planning what the ‘City of Mineral Water’ will look like in years to come.

The Martinsville Plan Commission listened to a presentation Tuesday evening regarding the city’s updated comprehensive plan.

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The city is in the process of applying an administrative update to its existing comprehensive plan to reflect the final built conditions of I-69 as the interstate corridor nears completion in Morgan, Johnson and Marion counties. The plan was last revised in 2017.

Cory Whitesell, a project manager at HWC Engineering, provided the commission with an overview of the project and its priorities while discussing the draft plan. He also outlined the eventual plan review and adoption process. Whitesell is leading the project team that is responsible for putting the plan together. Additionally , the 2022 extensive plan focuses on quality of place, housing and related infrastructure considerations.

Plan priorities

One of the primary factors driving the city to update its plan is the continued development coming into the city due to I-69. All land use plus transportation recommendations have been designed to accommodate the final built conditions. Whitesell said state law requires that a comprehensive plan is in place to support zoning decisions.

Whitesell also explained that the purpose of the plan is to update the city’s road network to reflect the changes brought by I-69, revamp land-use maps to explore future development opportunities so the city can maximize the final-built conditions, and better define the city’s evolving needs and priorities.

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Whitesell emphasized throughout the presentation that the plan is intended to only be used as a guide for city officials when facing decisions centered around land use, transportation routes and extension of utilities. It will be available to residents and business owners as well.

Another facet of the plan involves implementing a new housing development in the community. Whitesell said the community feedback has revealed a strong need for a wider range of housing choices. This includes upper-end, senior and affordable housing options. This push for more development directly corresponds to neighborhood revitalization efforts as the city looks to continue investing in existing neighborhoods.

The plan does recommend the city up-date its ordinances to offer clear rules for future casing development and redevelopment.

The draft strategy documents Martinsville’s desire to invest in a higher quality of life plus attract more workers to the city. The city aims to accomplish this through downtown investment, park and recreation improvements and investing in pedestrian infrastructure. Retaining workers is a key priority as well.

Special Development Areas

Whitesell discussed the impact of quality interchange development, the term used to describe Special Development Areas (SDA) that feature land use recommendations that are unique to each geographic location. The plan identifies seven SDAs within the town that have been earmarked as potential sites for future advancement and redevelopment opportunities.

Whitesell introduced the particular commission to each SDA included in the draft plan. The first area focuses on the State Road 39 bypass. Martinsville is preparing a levee extension to promote development in this area. If the levee is approved, long term development could come in the form of a brand-new sports park and housing developments.

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SDA-B will be on State Road 39 and the I-69 interchange. Multiple restaurants have relocated to this area from Burton lane to Morton Avenue. This plan provides recommendations on how to handle this transition.

SDA-C could be the site of future residential plus commercial development along Ohio Street and Artesian Avenue. SDA-D covers the North Gateway area near the State Road 44 and Condition Road 252 interchanges. The area could witness future commercial and residential development.

SDA-E focuses on the northwest portion of the city on State Road 39, Main Street and Park Method. The draft plan suggests this area could attract employer sites while supporting residential infill and redevelopment.

SDA-F focuses on downtown development within the city to expand retail and entertainment options and possible residential initiatives to bring more citizens downtown to live.

Lastly, SDA-G focuses on the Liberty Church interchange. It was exposed that property owners prefer to maintain the area’s current uses. Whitesell also confirmed that the city is open to keeping the services as they are. If current property owners change this stance, the city feels the area could be used to house employer sites.

Survey results

A public survey has been conducted to gauge the particular public’s perception of previous plan goals and the present ones. Over 300 responses were received.

The survey found that will around 82% of respondents believe Martinsville should invest in more initiatives aimed at those 18 and younger. Over half of those surveyed think Martinsville is a great location to raise a family. Nearly 70% believe downtown needs a greater variety of activities such as shopping or dining options.

Additional input gathered from the survey has been included in every chapter of the new program under the community feedback tab.

Buffer zone

Future plans for the buffer zone, which Whitesell called the ‘fringe boundary’, were discussed during the meeting. This refers to areas located outside of town limits, but areas in which Martinsville has planning plus zoning authority.

Martinsville currently holds full zoning authority over this 2-mile fringe area, however Morgan County will soon assume full control of these areas.

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Whitesell explained that although these areas are not considered part of the city at the present moment, that could change in the future. If that ever does happen, he said the city should be prepared to provide city services and utilities to those areas.

The question is whether the city should enforce city standards when it comes to growth in those same areas located near its corporate limits.

While Martinsville will soon not have zoning expert outside of its corporate limits, there is one tool Whitesell recommends it could use. The city can decide when or even if it should offer utilities to growth areas. To ensure developments meet city standards, Martinsville can require that will residents agree to be annexed and follow city requirements before any utilities are connected.

History of the Martinsville Comprehensive Plan

The latest iteration of the city’s comprehensive plan can trace its origins back to 2010 when Martinsville created the State Road 37/144 Corridor Plan in an effort to lay the groundwork for the I-69 corridor by preparing for potential impacts. This saw Mooresville, Martinsville and Morgan County update their plans, with all three forming a shared vision for the location of interchanges plus overpasses on I-69.

Six years later, the I-69 Economic Advancement Plan was developed to search for economic opportunities along the I-69 corridor. In 2017, the year 2010 comprehensive plan was updated to reflect the latest changes to the I-69 project. By 2019, Morgan County created its own comprehensive plan (the thoroughfare plan) to determine how the county will adapt. Today, Martinsville is updating the 2017 plan so the I-69 final built conditions are usually included in any future development and land-use plans.

Next steps

A PDF copy of the plan can be found online at the Martinsville City Government’s official website at martinsville. in. gov .

The first step of the adoption process involved releasing a draft of the plan to the public. Now that the draft plan has been presented to the city’s planning commission rate, residents are encouraged to submit their own comments. Comments on the draft can be submitted to Gary Oakes, director of planning and engineering, at  [email protected]. in. gov . Comments will be accepted via Sept. 2 .

Once all of the comments have been received, an updated write of the comprehensive plan will be distributed. The planning commission will then announce its decision during its Sept. 27 meeting. If approved, the city council will hold a vote upon whether or not to adopt the plan on Oct. 10.

BZA meeting

The Martinsville Board associated with Zoning and Appeals approved an use variance request to place a 10’x16’ building at West Highland Street & North Maple Road for pet grooming services. The decision was unanimous. The board met at town hall before the planning percentage held its meeting at 7 p. m.

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