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Land Use 101: An introduction to Indiana planning and zoning practices

Zoning may not be the most exciting topic, but it is an important one.

“Zoning is an issue that doesn’t seem to matter until it matters,” said Greg Slipher, Indiana Farm Bureau livestock development specialist. “It’s imperative that farmers know what to look for in zoning ordinances and that they know how the process works.”

 To date, 80 of Indiana’s 92 counties have county-wide zoning. It’s important for farmers to be familiar with the zoning laws that affect them.

In recent years, zoning has become a hot topic in regards to animal livestock operations across the state. At the Statehouse, the Interim Study Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources met three times this year to discuss the proximity to and interaction of confined feeding operations with suburban and urban areas. INFB staff attended and testified in the meetings to express the importance of wise, locally-controlled planning and zoning as a way to reduce the opportunity for conflict between uses.

Jamie Palmer, senior policy analyst at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, said sound zoning practices provide stability to a community. According to Palmer, proper zoning also works to protect property values. Above all, it allows citizens of that area to know what to expect for the future of their community.

“In addition, it’s [zoning] also a tool where the local community can decide what’s right for it,” said Palmer. Zoning “is not a one-size-fits-all thing. It definitely can be tailored to the community.” Palmer said community involvement in zoning and planning can reduce the risk of conflict down the road.

Throughout this insert, the INFB public policy team will help you explore zoning definitions, what to look for in zoning ordinances, approval processes and what counties without zoning should consider if they’re looking to adopt a zoning ordinance.