Comprehensive Plan Focuses on Residential & Commercial Growth
Indianola is located only 17-miles south of the city of Des Moines, Iowa. With its close proximity to the state capital, direct access to employment centers, and the Des Moines International Airport, there’s a strong emphasis on residential and commercial growth.
City leaders interested in sustainable, smart growth retained Snyder & Associates to develop a new comprehensive plan for the city as well as the two-mile area surrounding it.
As one of the most important decision-making and priority setting tools, the comprehensive planning process determines community goals and aspirations for development. The resulting document outlines community standards and regulations for transportation, utilities, land use, parks and trails, and housing.
Comprehensive planning doesn’t end with the adoption of the plan—implementation is an equally important aspect. This Comprehensive Plan presents an integrated, actionable program that will help city officials and staff to implement community goals.
Comprehensive Planning Process Tailored to Community Needs
The comprehensive planning process typically includes eight steps, which are adjusted by planners to suit individual community needs. These steps include:
- Identifying and investigating community issues
- Outlining community goals and visions
- Data collection
- Plan preparation
- Creation of implementation plans
- Evaluation of options
- Plan adoption
The project included population projections, an analysis of land use needs, and a calculation of land use. Environmental constraints were analyzed, including wetlands, floodplain, severe slopes, and unsuitable soils. With input from the steering committee, the opportunities and challenges facing Indianola as it grows were brought into focus.
The future land use plan offers a vision of the future with a primary focus on growth areas. Land use goals include creating a sustainable land use plan, providing open space and critical environmental areas, offering alternative transportation modes, and a variety of housing choices.
The plan is complemented by a transportation plan that includes new parkways to connect neighborhoods and alternative travel routes to alleviate congestion and serve the city’s needs. To enhance the quality of life, the plan includes future parks and trails. The included framework for decision-making provides design criteria for development and addresses levels of compatibility between various uses.
Growth management is another key component of the Comprehensive Plan, which identifies policies to guide future development, including infill development. The plan includes a prioritized annexation plan that directs growth to areas economically served by municipal utilities while maintaining a variety of choice in site selection. Each identified growth area was analyzed based on the availability of municipal services and anticipated land use. Existing infrastructure within these areas was evaluated with respect to its condition and capability to handle growth. The growth management plan also includes costs for bringing substandard infrastructure into compliance.
The plan includes an implementation strategy to help ensure its effectiveness. Recommendations for policy changes, action items, and capital improvement projects were defined and assigned a time frame for completion. The scope of Indianola’s plan is ambitious and long-term. Each action, investment, and policy item was chosen to contribute to the betterment of the community. To keep the plan moving forward, it’s suggested that the city implement and plan a maintenance process that uses the Comprehensive Plan to develop annual improvements.
The City Council formally adopted the Indianola Comprehensive Plan on November 7, 2011.