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South Bend may start up a city-wide planning commission

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The City of South Bend is working on a resolution which would create a city-wide planning commission in January 2020. 

Tim Corcoran, director of planning for the city, presented the resolution on Monday to the South Bend Common Council. However, the council voted to table the resolution until February 25. 

“It’s a huge deal,” said Oliver Davis Jr., District 6 council person. “Development is a major part of our city and the growth of our city.”

South Bend will likely leave the St. Joseph County Area Planning Commission in order to set up its own planning commission. The county-wide planning commission provides rezoning and subdivision review services South Bend and four other towns and cities. 

The director for the county planning commission, Larry Magliozzi, said for nearly 50 years his staff has provided free and honest opinions on land use. 

“If the city decides to form their own planning commission,” said Magliozzi. “That will transfer 100 percent over to the city staff.”

According to Magliozzi, the city would join Mishawaka, Walkerton and Indian Village with its plan for a nine-member Plan Commission and a five-member Board of Zoning Appeals. Davis Jr. said the Council would like to have more information on the City’s proposed resolution. 

“Do we want to stay with the area planning commission where we’ve been since the 60s,” he said. “Or do we want to move forward and make some changes?”

Davis said if the city leaves the county-wide planning commission it could lose an experience staff, who are knowledgeable of the county landscape. He also said the Council would like to see a price tag for the city-wide planning commission. 

Magliozzi said his budget from the county for the St. Joseph County Area Planning Commission is about $371,000 and 90 percent is used to fund the staff time.

“The question now will South Bend be a part of its own self and look at it,” said Davis Jr. “There are pros and cons with that, so we’re having to establish that as developers look at coming to South Bend as neighborhoods look at developing different plans in their areas.”

 

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