When we gather together on the land, we form a community, and we change the land. We use its resources and make changes to the land so that our community will meet our needs for living, working and playing. When we think ahead about making these changes, we are planning. We look into the future, project our needs and create a vision of the community we want.
The Planning Division of the Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Commission is responsible for coordinating many aspects of planning for Owensboro, Whitesville, and Daviess County. The three main areas of work include long-range planning, short-range planning, and information systems.
LONG-RANGE PLANNING focuses on big plans, those that will take several years to make real. These include comprehensive and transportation planning, as well as overall plans for smaller areas.
Comprehensive Planning. The Comprehensive Plan for Owensboro, Whitesville, and Daviess County is the main guide for managing and coordinating public and private development activities in our community. In the comprehensive planning process, OMPC staff members analyze trends in population, the economy and land-use, compare these trends with community goals and objectives, and assist the OMPC in establishing land development policies. All of these elements are brought together into a sophisticated and flexible land use plan that is coordinated with specialized plans for roads, utilities, parks and other necessary public facilities.
Transportation Planning involves maintaining a current plan to meet projected traffic needs for the Owensboro Urban Service Area. The Green River Area Development District heads the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for transportation for our community. OMPC staff work closely with the MPO and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on transportation issues, providing data on land use and demographics, monitoring consistency with land use plans and proposed subdivision plats, and in updating the functional classification of streets.
Neighborhood & Small Area Planning involves devising special plans as needed for neighborhoods or smaller areas to guide orderly new development or redevelopment, or to enhance the appearance of public facilities such as major street corridors.
SHORT-RANGE PLANNING focuses on the tools used to implement long-range plans. Those tools are the regulations and policies applicable to proposed development, including zoning and subdivision regulations, public improvement specifications, street access management policies, and development review forms. The OMPC seeks to maintain up-to-date regulations and policies.
Zoning. The Zoning Ordinance regulates public and private land use in accordance with the guidelines established in the comprehensive plan. There are three principal staff activities: answering daily questions about zoning; reviewing and writing recommendations for proposed zoning map amendments (rezonings), and drafting amendments to the zoning ordinance text as needed. Proposed changes must be considered by the planning commission and approved by the appropriate legislative bodies.
In April 2009, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a revised flood study and Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Owensboro-Daviess County. FEMA’s flood study and maps are the basis for local flood zoning under the National Flood Insurance Program. Staff participated in determining the priorities for the restudy, the highest of which was to provide more detail for the problematic “AE zones.”
Subdivision. The Subdivision Regulations require appropriate-sized building lots and adequate distribution of public facilities to service those lots. Staff reviews subdivision plats for consistency with neighborhood plans, transportation plans and policies, and adopted regulations. Major subdivisions go before the planning commission for final approval.
Public Improvements. The Public Improvement Specifications set minimum design and construction standards for streets, waterlines, sewers, and other necessary public facilities in new subdivisions. In coordination with the planning staff, the city and county engineers review development proposals for consistency with the adopted specifications.
Street Access Management standards and policies have been adopted by the local transportation planning organization and by the OMPC, to manage vehicular access to major streets in the Owensboro Urban Service Area. The standards and policies were updated in 1991 and incorporated into the revised comprehensive plan and land use regulations. Planning staff applies the access policies to proposed subdivision plats and development plans, and coordinates with local and state permit agencies regarding access changes to existing properties. In 2009, a review of the functional classifications of highways and streets was conducted by the MPO, the city and county engineers and the planning staff resulting in a number of changes in the classifications.
Development Review Forms. Maintained by the staff, these forms describe the procedures, fees and required materials for submission and approval of zoning and subdivision applications. The staff updates the forms continuously, which assures thorough and timely review of submitted items by the staff and planning commission.
INFORMATION SYSTEMS are maintained that are integral to the planning process and support various OMPC activities. These systems include mapping, data processing, demographics, street addressing, document files, and a library.
Mapping. The staff maintains current information on the Geographic Information System (GIS) including property boundaries, zoning classifications, street addresses, city limits, etc. Special maps are produced as needed for OMPC projects. The GIS database provides several benefits for the community, including improved sharing of data between agencies, a non-degenerative form of data, and more readily available, dynamic, distributable and presentable information.
Data Processing. Currently, the OMPC uses iWorq software that tracks permitting, land use activity, and a variety of other building and planning data.
Demographics. The staff monitors demographic statistics from a variety of sources, and makes available via www.iompc.org any population studies done in-house in conjunction with special projects. The staff reviews Census Bureau, State Data Center and other sources for statistics or planned activities affecting the Owensboro Metropolitan Statistical Area. A staff member serves as the local Census Key Person.
Staff has been involved extensively in the censuses of 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010. Activities include revising Census Tract boundaries, participating in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) and reviewing pre-Census and post-Census housing counts by block, to assure Census accuracy.
Street Addressing. Staff assigns all street addresses in Daviess County, and in small areas of adjoining counties served by post offices in Daviess County. The staff coordinates addresses with in-house records, the U. S. Postal Service, the Daviess County PVA, and other agencies. Assigned numbers are recorded on GIS and in computer databases. The staff routinely assigns addresses to all parcel-based activity reviewed by the office — zoning, subdivisions, building permits, etc. iWorq software products are also integral to OMPC addressing systems as addressing, land use tracking, and permitting are central components of OMPC responsibilities. The E911 Master Street Address Guide, which is integral to the emergency dispatch system, is kept current through ongoing staff correspondence with AT&T agents and Intrado’s E911 update website.
When address changes become necessary due to changes in official street names or to correct out-of-sync numbers, OMPC staff notifies affected occupants, utilities and other governmental agencies.
Document Files. Staff maintains orderly and easily accessible document files on zoning and subdivision activity. All items to be filed are placed in manila folders with color-coded identification labels that depict the street address, map number, and other pertinent information. After an item has been processed, it is filed by street address or by map number as appropriate.