Gary Comprehensive Plan: A Web Portal Documenting the Re-Write of the Municipal Comp Plan
In the Summer of 2005, the Gary, Hammond, East, Chicago Empowerment Zone (GECHE), the City of Gary Planning & Development Council, and the Department of Planning & Division of Zoning posted a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) on the City’s website and in local print media. The proposal advertised for services “to prepare a comprehensive plan to replace the current plan” that “must meet all required elements of Indiana Code (IC) 36-7-4 and elements as identified in this request.”
To view the original RFP as posted on the municipal web site, a pdf file of the request can be viewed here: RFP - Department of Planning - City of Gary, Indiana.
Soon after RFP responses were received, the Comp Plan Selection Committee was seated to review and assess the submittals for adherence to proposal criteria. After evaluation of these criteria and reference checks of qualifications, the Selection Committee selected three short-listed consulting firms to move forward in the selection process. The Selection Committee consisted of representatives from various departments and divisions that interact with physical and economic development including the Department of Planning & Division of Zoning, the Empowerment Zone, the Building Department, the Department of Public Works, Community Development, Environmental Affairs, the Parks Department, Department of Redevelopment, and the Gary Public Transportation Company.
In the Winter of 2005, the three short-listed candidates were then asked to further develop their responses by presenting detailed plan-related time tables, proposed deliverable dates, and overall associated costs. The three candidates came before the Selection Committee and each presented their findings.
In the Spring of 2006, the Selection Committee finalized the choice of a candidate after a competitive interview process and assessment of project-related timetables and costs. The final candidate selection was challenging as the submittals were of high quality and reflected great care, diligence, and expertise by the candidates who submitted.
Shortly thereafter, the Comp Plan Team, which was assembled from team members in two of the submittals, was presented to the Planning & Development Council for consideration. The Planning & Development Council and its members accepted the recommendation of the Selection Committee and moved the candidate forward to the Mayor for approval.
Mayor Rudolph Clay and Executive Staff met with the Comp Plan Team (composed of BauerLatoza Studio, the Lakota Group, S.B. Freidman, Cender & Company, Huff & Huff, RQAW, and Blalock & Brown) to review the proposal, methodology, timetables, and costs. Mayor Clay accepted the recommendation of the candidate and requested that contractual discussions begin.
The contract for professional services between the Comp Plan Team and the Gary, Hammond, East Chicago Empowerment Zone was signed in March 2007.
On April 17, 2007, the Department of Planning & Division of Zoning and the Gary, Hammond, East Chicago Empowerment Zone hosted a day-long “Kick-Off” Meeting composed of a morning sit down session and an afternoon bus tour. Various community leaders, council representatives, department and division heads, Deputy Mayor Tousant, and Mayor Clay attended. The kickoff meeting was held to coordinate the exchange of existing information and to physically tour the city and to view conditions and to facilitate on-site discussions. Discussion took place in the morning meeting and afternoon bus tour about current and proposed projects, land use, urban design, the environment, transportation, and our local economic conditions.
After the initial “Kick-Off” Meeting, the Comp Plan Team began a research and discovery phase to assemble, analyze, review, and become familiarized with various city projects, past plans, and any extant data relating to the plan re-write. The Comp Plan Team met with municipal departments and divisions to garner additional developmental concerns and to begin the formulation of the “State of the City” Report.
In addition to research and discovery, the Comp Plan Team was charged with interacting with our citizens, businesses, and other units of local government. As denoted in the RFP, the Comp Plan Team, the Department of Planning & Division of Zoning, and the Empowerment Zone jointly hosted public meetings to gain public involvement and participation in this crucial planning process. Meetings were developed that brought together community and business leaders, that assembled citizens through district-oriented meetings, and that brought together all those interested through city-wide sessions. These three types of sessions were planned and implemented to garner continued public participation, to secure input throughout the plan re-write, and to proficiently present findings and project-related updates to our municipal audience.
A “Community Leader and Business Stakeholder” Meeting took place on August 2, 2007. Over 65 individuals attended this evening session where the Comp Plan Team, the Department of Planning & Division of Zoning, and the Empowerment Zone briefed participants on the goals of the re-write, lead a group-wide discussion on municipal strengths and barriers, and opened dialogue about change and development. To view the Community Leaders and Business Stakeholders document, a pdf file of the request can be viewed here: Community Leaders and Business Stakeholders.
Six “District” Meetings took place throughout the City in the Fall of 2007. The Comp Plan Team, the Department of Planning & Division of Zoning, and the Empowerment Zone again jointly hosted these meetings in coordination with the District Council Person. At these meetings, a “State of the City” overview was presented. Citizens were shown existing land use, physical conditions with barriers and benefits defined, zoning, and initial market study-related findings. The Comp Plan Team additionally discussed redevelopment opportunities by illustrating potential redevelopment opportunities and footprints in the district. To close the district meetings, open discussion and dialogue was encouraged to discuss the presentations and the findings.
The following is a list of “District” Meetings and each session’s accompanying power point presentation:
For a compilation of all recommendations made during the “District“ Meetings, please download the following file: Summary of District Meeting
On March 15, 2008, the Department of Planning and the Empowerment Zone hosted the half-day “Community Wide Comp Plan Workshop” at the Genesis Center. To start this workshop, a presentation was given providing updated findings and recommendations to nearly 175 attendees. The breakdown of attendees reflected interested residents, community leaders, elected officials and representatives from local businesses. After the presentation, there was a question and answer period, two breakout sessions, and a workshop-wide report back. During the breakout sessions proposed development concepts for eleven (11) municipal sub-areas were presented. Participants attending had the opportunity to review and provide input on the plan and development concepts during this session. To view the press release for the Comprehensive Plan Workshop, a pdf file of the request can be viewed here: Comprehensive Plan Workshop
For a consolidated report on this workshop, please access the following files:
Community Workshop City Wide
State of the City
In late August of 2008, the first full draft of the Comprehensive Plan was
complete for review and comment. The Plan is available below for download.
The Plan is provided in PDF format and is separated by the “sections” listed
in the document:
Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Acceptance:
On September 29, 2008, the Department of Planning & Division of Zoning submitted the Comprehensive Plan to the
Gary Plan Commission for consideration. The Department requested that the Plan be set for a public hearing
and final determination on October 28, 2008.
At the October 28th Plan Commission meeting, Plan Commissioners reviewed the
Comprehensive Plan and then heard public comment on it. After receiving
favorable public comment, the Plan Commission the voted on the Plan. With a
majority vote, the Plan Commission certified the Comprehensive Plan and
recommended that the plan go before the Gary Common Council.
The certified Comprehensive Plan was introduced before the Gary Common Council
on January 20, 2009. The Plan was assigned to the Planning and Development
Committee and presented for the First and Second Readings. The Plan was assigned
to Committee on January 29, 2009.
At the Committee meeting, on overview of the Plan was provided and discussion
took place about the items contained within the document. The Committee agreed
to report on these activities at the next Gary Common Council meeting on
February 3, 2009.
On February 3, 2009, the Common Council received a report on the Plan by the
Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, a presentation of the Third and
Final Reading, and an open public discussion period. After public discussion,
the Plan was unanimously approved by the Council and accepted as the official
land use plan for the City of Gary.
The Department of Planning and Division of Zoning greatly appreciated everyone's
effort with the development of this plan and the concepts developed within. The
department and its staff would like to personally thank every citizen, business,
stakeholder, community leader, developer, elected official, municipal department
and division head, and all those who have contribute to this Plan.
Christopher Meyers, Director