The public workshop for the City of Shelbyville’s Comprehensive Plan Update was held on Friday May 4th at the “Race into Summer” First Friday event. There was an amazing turnout at this event with over 100 members of the public interacting with the team working on this project. Feedback received from the workshop, along with the over 1,400 survey responses will help guide the development of both the City and County’s Comprehensive Plans over the coming months. You can follow the progress of the project and stay involved by “liking” the Planning and Building Department’s Facebook Page or by following the Project’s Website. The Community Survey is still open, and we ask that everyone take a few minutes to compete this survey so your input can be incorporated in the Comprehensive Plan.
Planning and Building
The City of Shelbyville Planning and Building Department has been awarded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) to help fund an update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. A city’s Comprehensive Plan is intended to take a holistic look at the community and generally plan out how and where development should occur in the next two to three decades. While this plan looks out 20 – 30 years, it should be reviewed and updated every 5 – 7 years to ensure the vision described in the plan is still the vision the citizens have for their community. The City’s existing Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2010, and since that time many of the goals in the plan have been completed and new opportunities have presented themselves, so we feel as though it is time to review and update this document.
City staff spent the last few months of 2017 preparing documentation for this grant application while at the same time interviewing qualified teams to help the city through this update process. At the January 2018 Plan Commission meeting, planning staff announced that they would partner with HWC Engineering out of Indianapolis to lead the efforts in updating the city’s existing Comprehensive Plan. This is the same firm that will also be updating the Comprehensive Plan for Shelby County in 2018. HWC Engineering has been involved in a range of different projects that more than qualify them for this update; some of those projects include: A Comprehensive Plan Update for the City of Franklin, A Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for Whitestown, and The City of Rushville’s first Comprehensive Plan just to name a few.
During this time when the City is updating its Comprehensive Plan, Shelby County will undergo a similar process in updating their Comprehensive Plan. This was an intentional effort to further clarrify the community’s vision at both a city-scale and a larger county-scale, while at the same time bringing a deeper sense of continuety to many of the goals established in these two plans. Shelby County has also chosen HWC Engineering to assist in their Comprehensive Plan Update.
Over the next year, we will periodically have public meetings and listening sessions were we will ask for public input and feedback on the plan update as it is developed, and all members of the public will be invited to those events. Currently we are asking that everyone take a short online survey to help us get started on this process. To access the survey, click here.
The City of Shelbyville has adopted new sign standards that went into effect on February 19th, 2018. These new standards have been developed over the past year to help provide businesses and sign contractors with a simpler process for promoting business here in Shelbyville, while at the same time ensuring a high quality product is being constructed to promote and protect the community’s character and identity. During the development of these new standards, we asked for and received feedback from local businesses and sign contractors in the region create a logical and transformative ordinance that would be easier to use for everyone. Throughout this entire process we have two main objectives (1) to promote the general welfare by protecting and enhancing the community’s aesthetics, and (2) to promote quality development and redevelopment throughout our community.
The amendments to the standards being adopted are primarily focused around the development standards for permanent and temporary signs, in response to a recent US Supreme Court Decision (Reed v. Town of Gilbert.) This Supreme Court decision in effect made it unconstitutional to either regulate the content of a sign, or to regulate a sign differently based on its content. A common example of this type of regulation would be placing different development standards on political signs than directional signage; this would regulate your freedom of “political” speech different than your freedom of “directional” speech. While our current standards didn’t intentionally regulate the content of the sign, some provisions were indirectly regulating content.
In addition to the changes to the standards in response to this Supreme Court decision, we have also adopted new language to ensure our sign standards truly reflect the vision for the community and are in-line with current industry trends. Various minor changes have been incorporated for different development standards to keep in-line with current industry trends, but there are five areas of substantial change, those being;
- Abandoned Signs (UDO 5.58(E))
- Electronic Message Centers (UDO 5.58(P))
- Off-premise Advertising Billboards (UDO 5.64)
- Pole and Pylon Signs (UDO 5.58(Q))
- Tall Monument Signs (UDO 5.62)
Here’s a brief description for each of the five major changes:
Abandoned Signs: We are amending the current language so that a sign must have a “sign blank” installed 14-days after a business has vacated their building/tenant space. We are also amending the current language so that legal-conforming signs do not need to be removed, but rather the sign can be reused when a new tenant moves into the space. Any legal-nonconforming (“Grandfathered”) signs will need to be removed after they have been abandoned for more than 180-days.
Electronic Message Centers (EMCs): The adopted language will not change the development standards (size and location) of EMCs, but it will require each EMC to receive special exception approval through the Board of Zoning Appeals. This provision is intended to ensure each proposed EMC is consistent with the current and desired character of the area it will be located in, and to provide better control over the placement of EMCs.
Off-Premise Advertising Billboards: The adopted language will require an increased amount of separation between billboards, so as not to further clutter the “Interstate Corridor.” This language will also require that each new billboard be heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals as a special exception petition so that they can be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Pole and Pylon Signs: In the previous iteration of development standards, pole and pylon signs are strictly prohibited in the City of Shelbyville. The newly adopted language will allow an opportunity for these types of signs in the BH – Business Highway zoning district, by requiring that the Board of Zoning Appeals hear every request as a special exception to determine, on a case-by-case basis, if the proposal is appropriate in the existing and desired context.
Tall Monument Signs: The newly adopted text will allow for larger (50,000 square feet or larger) commercial facilities to have one taller sign that still mimics the architectural and design elements of a monument sign. This sign type is being used more often with larger, multi-tenant commercial establishment to adequately identify their primary entrance. This sign type will also only be limited to the BH – Business Highway Zoning District, which consists of primarily larger lots where this type of sign is more appropriate.
The final adopted sign standards can be found here, and more details about sign standards for each zoning district can be found here.
If you have any questions or want to discuss these changes further, feel free to contact our office.
Bryant P. Niehoff
Planning and Building Director, City of Shelbyville