Subdivisions are the basic design of a community’s built environment. While lot sizes and dimensions are defined by the zoning code, the subdivision code provides for how those lots can fit together to form a neighborhood. How big should blocks be? How wide must street rights-of-way be? Are cul-de-sacs a positive or negative? Are sidewalks required?
In addition to those qualitative issues, the subdivision code (formally, the Subdivision Control Ordinance, “SCO”) creates a process by which a subdivision is platted (that is, the lots laid out), and sets out the minimum standards to which public improvements (e.g. streets, sanitary sewers, water lines, etc.) must be held.
The Town of Whiteland has had an SCO in place since adopting its first zoning code in 1970. The SCO currently in effect for the town was adopted in 2004, and it replaced the 1970 code. In the ten years since, the planning and building staff, along with the the utility departments and others, have noted some deficiencies in the code, and some opportunities to improve it. These included removing extraneous regulations, reorganizing the code, updating infrastructure standards, and increasing usability. It was also determined that having the standards within the code made it cumbersome to use, both for those seeking platting process information and those needing the actual specifications.
With those goals in mind, the staff initiated a project in the fall of 2013 to separate the standards and specifications from the SCO itself, placing them in their own separate manual, while also updating the SCO text.
After several months of effort, the proposed new Subdivision Control Ordinance and the related Design Standards and Specifications Manual (“DSSM”) are now available for public review and comment. Below are the proposed documents, as well as the current code for comparison.
For those interested in more details about the purpose of subdivision codes generally, the American Planning Association-Indiana Chapter has produced this introductory guide.
Please submit comments to Nathan Bilger, Director of Planning and Zoning, on behalf of the Plan Commission at email@example.com. There will also be opportunity for public comment during a public hearing at the April 1, 2014 Plan Commission meeting.