Land use planning, or “zoning” as most of us know it, is a critical function of local government that can have profound impact on individual property owners and our community as a whole. Zoning has been around since a United States Supreme Court opinion in 1926 affirmed its use as constitutional. It has been significantly expanded and adopted throughout the United States. In many cases, it is seen as fostering economic growth by providing separate zones for varied activities, thereby allowing all activities to flourish. However, if zoning regulation becomes too complex and the processes too cumbersome, then the economic health of a community can suffer. Property owners, from residential to commercial to employment areas, need predictability. If you buy a house, knowing what will be built next door is important. Likewise, if you want to build a business and employ people, you want to know what is possible, where it can be done and what your costs will be. Both the City of Bloomington and Monroe County are engaging in planning processes that will impact the economic future of our community for years to come. Predicting future workspaces is becoming less and less possible because of disruptions in technology. A zoning ordinance that is flexible and adapts to new approaches to housing and employment is crucial.
Written by Lynn Coyne, President, BEDC
Recently published in The Herald-Times