Planning with POWER logo Ongoing Efforts

The Planning With POWER project has been working closely with several communities in Indiana on an ongoing basis throughout the project. Listed below are the activities and efforts that are underway in these specific counties or communities.

Dearborn Elkhart Hendricks Howard Lake and Porter

Lake and Porter Counties

The Planning With POWER Project initially presented a program on land use planning while protecting natural resources and water quality in July of 2003 for the Lake County Planning staff. This presentation was facilitated with the help of Lake County Plan Director Ned Kevachovich and Purdue County Extension Director Stan Simms who serves as a Plan Commission Member. After the initial presentation, the Plan Staff requested more information on on-site septic systems and wastewater management. Through the Planning With POWER Program, Dr. Brad Lee, Purdue Extension Soils Specialist, presented information and current research regarding site selection, new technology, and best management practices on on-site wastewater management. An additional Planning With POWER presentation was given along with the septic information to the Lake County Health and Planning staff and discussion followed on specific cases and problems facing Lake County and the surrounding vicinity. Also a Planning With POWER presentation was delivered to the Hobart Planning staff and other local officials on March 25, 2023 as the Plan staff had requested input from POWER on lake and shoreline best management practices and additional help on ordinance updates for stormwater.

A Smart Growth Initiative was launched in Lake and Porter Counties in February of 2004 utilizing the Smart Growth funding from the NOAA and EPA project and training that occurred in November 2003. The first event of this initiative was a presentation on Smart Growth by Geoff Anderson, Director, Development, Community, and Environment Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Over 45 participants representing 11 different municipalities, two counties, three universities, regional planning agency, and several special interest groups were represented. Information and strategies on how communities can implement smart growth tools and techniques were presented at this initial meeting. Following the meeting a small planning group met to develop the next steps in furthering the smart growth and natural resource protection message in the Lake and Porter County Region and along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The planning committee outlined several possible topics for further discussion and as possible future presentations. Geoff Anderson submitted a speaker series list used by EPA in the Smart Growth arena for the group to consider. The next presentation selected is scheduled for May 13 and will feature the United Growth For Kent County in the state of Michigan. Kendra Wills, Land Use Agent for Michigan State University Extension will be presenting information about the United Growth For Kent County which involves over 85 local organizations that are project partners, rural and urban committees, and a 27 member advisory committee. United Growth For Kent County is developing strategies and policies directed at urban sprawl, land conservation, open space development, and farm land preservation programs. The Smart Growth Initiative in Lake and Porter Counties will continue to bring in resources and presentations on protection of natural resources and water quality and also to focus on smart growth strategies for the region. There is a possibility of touring regional smart growth communities as well as some examples of natural resource protection in developments around the area. One of the most important goals for our group is that we protect the valuable natural resources we have in northwest Indiana including the Lake Michigan shoreline and protect the water (for drinking, recreation, tourism, economic development) for generations to come.

Elkhart County

An initial Planning With POWER presentation was made to Elkhart County officials, Commissioners, Plan Commission members, Plan staff, Health Department, NRCS staff, SWCD, watershed representatives, agricultural community and others representing various groups and individuals. This initial group presentation was facilitated and organized with the help of Elkhart County Extension Director and Purdue Land Use Team Member, Phil Gordon. After the presentation, a discussion was held by the group on land use related topics such as on-site septic challenges, watershed projects ongoing in the county, and funding issues. The next visit to Elkhart County was a joint collaborative effort with the Indiana Land Resources Council on a site visit to hear local Elkhart County, neighboring city officials from Goshen and Nappanee, agricultural leaders and others discuss land use issues and concerns for their communities. A follow up bus tour of Elkhart County was held to highlight various land use issues and development in agricultural areas for the group. The Indiana Land Resources Council site visit was organized by Joe Tutterrow, Executive Director of the Indiana Land Resources Council, and with help from David Hess, Elkhart County Administrator and Indiana Land Resources Council Member. The third visit to Elkhart County by the Planning With POWER project involved preparation and presentation of a Planning With POWER status report outlining several important items for discussion including updating the current comprehensive land use plan (incorporating natural resource and watershed protection strategies) and utilizing local Conservation Partnership( SWCD, NRCS, IDNR, Purdue Extension) to provide technical support on watershed and natural resource Best Management Practices. Presentations at this meeting were made by Matt Jarvis, Regional Watershed Conservationist for NRCS/IDEM, and Gene Matzat, Regional Conservation Education Specialist, on watershed planning and agricultural BMPs. Also a brief GIS build out analysis was presented for two localities in Elkhart County developed by Purdue Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. The Elkhart Planning With POWER group will meet periodically to address natural resource planning and water quality protection as it relates to local land use planning. Several funded projects are underway in Elkhart County.

In September of 2003, a Planning With POWER presentation was made to the St. Joseph River Basin Commission in Elkhart. The St. Joseph River Basin Commission represents 30 cities, towns, counties in Indiana in the St. Joseph River Basin in which the drainage flows into Lake Michigan. In March of 2004, Planning With Power was asked to help facilitate a session on wetlands and water quality at a recent Eco-Summit in Elkhart County. Currently the POWER project is assisting and participating in a recently organized Elkhart County Health Department Steering Committee to begin a visioning process on development and on-site waste disposal systems. Planning With POWER has also been asked to present at an upcoming Elkhart County Land Use Forum on June 15, 2004. It is evident that the Planning With POWER Project and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant has been and will continue to be a valuable resource for future land use planning as it affects natural resources and water quality in the St. Joseph River Basin and ultimately in the waters of Lake Michigan as we look to the future long range planning horizon in the Elkhart region.

Hendricks County

An initial Planning With POWER program was presented to a Hendricks County group that was convened with the help of Jon Cain, Purdue Extension Educator and Land Use Team Member. This initial group consisted of Hendricks County Plan Commission members, NRCS Staff, Health Department staff, County Surveyor, and other local land use decision-makers. After the initial presentation the group decided to schedule another Planning With POWER presentation and invite some additional key community decision-makers to the next presentation. After the next presentation including additional representatives of the local community, a discussion was held and the group decided to form a Planning With POWER Task Force to address natural resource protection in the local land use planning process. The first step was to contact the Hendricks County Plan Commission and seek guidance on formation of this Planning With POWER group. After gaining endorsement and consent by the Hendricks County Plan Commission, the group organized as the Hendricks County Planning With POWER Task Force which will function as an advisory committee to the Hendricks County Plan Commission on natural resource protection issues as they relate to land use decisions. This Planning With POWER Task Force meets monthly and has scheduled presentations pertinent to their objectives of natural resource and water quality protection in land use decision-making for Hendricks County. One of the groupís presentations included a program by Matt Dickey, Eagle Creek Watershed Coordinator, on watersheds and the status of the Eagle Creek Watershed project of which approximately 1600 acres lie within Hendricks County. Henry Wallis, NRCS, and Cathy Grindstaff, Health Department, also presented information on the local watersheds in Hendricks County. Another program scheduled by the Task Force featured Hendricks County Surveyor, Dave Gaston, who presented a program on the upcoming Phase Two stormwater regulations required by EPA. Currently the Hendricks County Planning With POWER Task Force is chaired by Jon Cain, local Purdue Extension Educator.

Howard County 

An initial Planning With POWER presentation was made to Howard County Planning staff, SWCD staff, Wildcat Guardians representatives, Wildcat Watershed Alliance representatives, and other interested parties. Matt Jarvis, Regional Watershed Conservationist for NRCS/IDEM participated and provided technical support at the initial Howard County meeting. Following the presentation a discussion by the group was held to explore ways that Planning With POWER objectives and natural resource protection could be incorporated into the land use planning process in Howard County. The recently formed Wildcat Creek Watershed Alliance invited Bob McCormick, Planning With POWER State Coordinator, to participate as a member of the Wildcat Creek Watershed Alliance Land Use Subcommittee. McCormick has attended several of the Land Use Subcommittee meetings held in Howard County and provided resource support and input as needed throughout the process. Another Planning With POWER presentation was given to the Wildcat Creek Watershed Alliance Advisory Board to provide a foundation and background information in natural resource and water quality protection in land use planning. The guidance and support by Planning With POWER continues with the Wildcat Creek Watershed Alliance as they address land use issues in two subwatersheds of Howard and Clinton Counties.

Putnam County

An initial Planning With POWER presentation was delivered to local Putnam County officials and land use decision-makers including representatives of NRCS, Plan Commission, area RC&D, Plan Staff, and other interested citizens. The initial POWER meeting was organized and facilitated by Purdue Extension Educator, Jim Luzar. After the presentation, the group explored ways for the Planning With POWER message and objectives to be incorporated into planning efforts in Putnam. County. The Putnam County Farmland Preservation Committee, that was recently organized, was a possible avenue for Planning With POWER to provide educational resources, etc. Planning With POWER Coordinator Bob McCormick has attended several meetings of the Putnam County Farmland Preservation Committee and provided educational materials and resources to this group. Mark Evans, Regional Conservation Education Specialist, is helping facilitate the Farmland Preservation Committee in Putnam County and invited Planning with POWER to participate in the committee activities.  Planning With POWER will continue to provide education on natural resource and water quality protection to the Farmland Preservation Committee and other land use groups in Putnam County as needed.

Dearborn County

The Planning With POWER Project began working with the City of Aurora and Mayor Richard Ullrich in December 2001 when an initial presentation on the Planning With POWER Project was delivered to several members of the Aurora Plan Commission and several other city leaders. The project has been working closely with Aurora Plan Director, Donnie Hastings, and another Planning With POWER presentation was given to the Aurora Plan Commission in April 2002.

Planning With POWER is also participating in the Aurora Visioning and Strategic Planning efforts underway and being conducted by Ball State University and is helping serve as a resource to the subcommittees developed in that process.

Recently, Planning With POWER has been asked to help plan and organize a Hillside Development and Slippage Workshop for developers, builders, and local community leadership. The project is partnering and collaborating with the Indiana Land Resources Council and the Dearborn County Soil and Water Conservation District to develop the agenda and help organize the workshop. The workshop is scheduled for November 12, 2002.

Planning With POWER will continue to work closely with the City of Aurora and Dearborn County to incorporate natural resource protection into their long term land use planning efforts in their community.

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