As the Town of Plainfield and the Indianapolis region grow, Plainfield will need to address many issues related to development including transportation, Town services (parks, sewer, public safety, schools, etc.) and other factors that will affect the Town's quality of life.
Plainfield is located approximately 15 miles west of Indianapolis, adjacent to the Indianapolis International Airport. Plainfield's location in Hendricks County places it within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes eight counties in central Indiana (Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby Counties). Plainfield's planning area consists of the Town of Plainfield and Guilford Township, as shown in Figure A.1, Plainfield Study Area.
Figure A.1: Plainfield, Indiana Study Area
Part of the growth that Plainfield has experienced is due to its proximity to the City of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis International Airport. Figure A.2, Plainfield's Regional Context, illustrates the growth pressures from the City of Indianapolis. The red area illustrates the 1960 regional growth pattern. As shown in this illustration, the growth pattern was contained within Marion County. In 1980, Indianapolis's growth, shown in yellow, began to expand outside its boundaries into other counties including Hamilton and Johnson County. By 2000, as shown by the purple, growth from Indianapolis has stretched into the nine surrounding counties. As the availability of land decreased in Indianapolis, growth will continue to stretch out into the surrounding counties.
Figure A.2 Plainfield’s Regional Growth Context
In order to respond to this growth, the City of Indianapolis Metropolitan Development conducted the Indianapolis Economic Analysis 2025. The purpose of this study was to understand the growth pressures facing Indianapolis and the impacts it would have on the surrounding region. Figure A.2, shows the land use patterns that were projected if specific policies were implemented to manage growth and development. Figure A.3, Indianapolis Economic Analysis 2025 Plan shows a development pattern where growth is targeted along the major corridors including I-70. The map on the right illustrates a development pattern that focuses new development in urbanized areas such as Plainfield. Both of these development patterns indicate that regardless of which growth policies are implemented throughout the region, heavy growth will continue in Plainfield. Plainfield has an opportunity to enact land use policies that will manage the location and quality of development so that it is compatible with the desires of the Plainfield residents.
Figure A.3 Indianapolis Economic Analysis 2025 Plan
The growth that has occurred in Plainfield can be attributed to its location and access, As shown in Figure A.4, Influences of Development. With its proximity to the City of Indianapolis, growth has spread outward from Indianapolis into Plainfield. The non-residential growth has allowed Plainfield significant opportunities to upgrade its infrastructure in places while providing other amenities such as parks, sidewalk connections and the attraction of regional shopping areas. Currently, as well as in the
Figure A.4 Influences of Development
Residential land uses have traditionally occupied the most land in both large and small communities. Previous studies have shown the percent of urban land occupied by residential uses as between 42 percent (study conducted in 1955) and 48 percent (study conducted in 1983). The APA study conducted in 1992 showed that the average percentage of all urban land being used for residential uses in Midwest communities was 48 percent and as high at 52 percent for cities and towns similar to Plainfield. Single family housing accounts for most of this land as is comprised of approximately 41 percent of urban land while multi-family housing comprises only 11 percent. In comparison, Plainfield's residential land use is approximately 51 percent.
This rise in residential land in communities similar to Plainfield is most likely due to the suburban sprawl that occurs as these cities and towns become commuter communities for the larger cities. Additionally, commercial and industrial uses are expected to increase in small communities, which will result in a slightly lower residential percentage in the future, as seen in Plainfield.
Like residential uses, the proportion of commercial uses in both small and large communities has increased since the first study conducted in 1955. The earlier study found that commercial uses comprised only 2½ percent of developed land, but by 1992 that number had increased to 8 to 10 percent, as illustrated for Average of Midwest Cities and Cities Comparable to Plainfield, respectively. Plainfield's commercial land use mix is comparable with 8 percent.
For larger communities, the commercial land use ratio is expected to level at its current ratio of 10 percent. However, the amount of land used for commercial uses in smaller communities is expected to increase. The trend of offices moving out of central cities and into suburbs and smaller towns is expected to boost the commercial land use ratio in smaller communities. As with the trend in Plainfield, as more roof tops and industrial uses are developed, this percentage increases. With the addition of the Plainfield's Metropolis Center, it is anticipated that the commercial land use percentage will likely rise.
The industrial land use ratio has held steady at about 8 percent since 1955 for small communities.
Figure A.5: National APA Study
Averages of Midwest communities similar to Plainfield have held in this range with about 8 to 9 percent of their land use mix containing industrial. However, larger cities have seen a decline in the amount of land used for industrial purposes (from 12 percent in 1983 to 10½ percent in 1992). This shift is a result of a shift in economies from industrial to service. The economic shift shows up in industrial land use ratios from large cities because such cities had historically been reliant on industry. The shift in the economy has not had as much of an affect on smaller communities because industrial uses have been small or non-existent.
Unlike the other two case studies, Plainfield's industrial land use has shifted significantly to approximately 20 percent of its urbanized land uses. This shift can be attributed to the industrial growth on the east side of the community due to the proximity to I-70 and access to the Indianapolis Airport.
The public use category is broad, encompassing parks, transportation, utilities and institutional uses. Changes in this category are typically small and tend to follow increases in residential development, as that type of development requires the addition of right-of-way and utilities. The land use ratio for public uses in 1992 for Communities Similar to Plainfield was 29 percent and 36 percent for Average of Midwest Cities. Public uses for Plainfield is approximately 20 percent. This proportion is slightly lower for Plainfield. While it is slightly lower, probably due to the larger offset of industrial, it should be noted that Plainfield does contain several public uses that provide a larger service to the state. (i.e. Boys School, State Prison, Law Enforcement Academy) among its other local uses of parks, government buildings and schools.
The Average Mix
Plainfield's land use mix shows some difference from the average mix reported by the APA. Among the differences are a smaller public use sector even though Plainfield has a large service to the state, and a higher industrial sector due to the development of the land west of the Indianapolis International Airport with predominately large warehouse uses.
POPULATION, EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING GROWTH
For a community to take control of its own future, decision makers must have a clear understanding of the present state of the community and the internal and external forces shaping it. The following is a profile of the Town of Plainfield and its planning area, Guilford Township. The profile is divided into three general categories: population and the economy. Both of these will have significant impacts on the future development of the Town and surrounding Township.
Communities are not isolated places; they are living organisms, constantly changing and responding to the environments around them. Thus the following profile of the Town of Plainfield and its planning area will be looked at in the context of its position within Hendricks County, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and the State of Indiana.
For the most part, data presented are taken from the 2000 Census. Unless noted otherwise, this is the source for data presented in the Figures in this chapter. Where appropriate, 1990 Census data or data from other sources are presented for comparison or to illustrate a trend over time.
Plainfield's location within the Indianapolis MSA makes it sensitive to the growth pressures of the City of Indianapolis and neighboring suburbs. As the population of Indianapolis has moved farther away from the city center, it has extended into the surrounding counties, creating rapid growth pressure in what were formerly small rural towns. This pattern of suburbanization began for the Indianapolis metropolitan region, and in large cities all over the nation, following World War II when home mortgage loans became easier to obtain. The first communities that began to see growth in the Indianapolis region were Carmel and Greenwood, two established cities that became well connected to Indianapolis in the early1970s with the construction of the interstate highway system.
Plainfield was the first community in Hendricks County to face rapid growth, since it is the closest to Indianapolis' historic city limits. Danville, the Hendricks County seat, was the largest Town in the County prior to 1960. However, by 1960, both Plainfield and Brownsburg had exceeded Danville in population, with Plainfield growing the fastest and assuming its current position as the largest Town in the County. Plainfield's population increased from 14,953 in 1990 to 18,396 in 2000, a 23.0 percent increase for the decade.
Figure A.6, Hendricks County Population Growth, indicates the growth of Hendricks County's largest communities between 1990 and 2000. While all five communities continue to grow, Brownsburg has shown the fastest growth (87.3 percent), as indicated by the increasing steepness of the line on the graph. Plainfield, while still the largest town, is growing at a slower rate (23.0 percent growth rate from 1990-2000); between the years of 1990 and 2000, the gap between the sizes of Brownsburg and Plainfield narrowed from approximately 7,000 residents in 1990 to approximately 4,000 residents in 2000.
Figure A.6: Hendricks County Town Population Growth
Not only are Hendricks County communities growing, but the County ranked third in the state for overall population growth and second in the state for rate of growth in 2000. Hamilton and Johnson Counties, also in the Indianapolis MSA, are the only counties that surpass Hendricks County in overall population growth from 1990 to 2000. Not only is the Indianapolis region growing fast relative to other areas in Indiana, but in 2000 Hamilton County was the 27th fastest growing county in the United States. This growth is likely to have an impact on Hendricks County as people continue to seek housing in semi-rural and/or small town areas within a short commuting distance to Indianapolis. These opportunities are becoming less available north of the Town.
Figure A.7: Rate of Recent Population Change
Figure A.8: County Growth Projections
While the rate of growth alone creates implications for planning, the composition of that population says a great deal more. Looking at the composition of that growth involves looking at the age, education levels, and household types of those moving to the area in order to understand the demands that the growing population will place on the Town.
Figure A.9, Age Distribution, presents an age distribution for the Town of Plainfield in 2000. Distributions for most communities will be slightly distorted to account for differences in generation sizes. For example, the baby boom generation will cause a slight distortion because it is significantly larger than the generations before and after it. However, Plainfield's population pyramid shows more than just a slight generational distortion. Rather than having a higher proportion of persons at the base of the pyramid (children and young adults), the highest proportion by far is in the 40-49 year old age group. While this is consistent with the baby boom generation, it is much more pronounced than in most communities.
Figure A.9: Age Distribution
While the distortion in the 40-49 age group causes the number of people in some of the other age groups to appear small, Plainfield does have a significant amount of population between the ages of 25 and 40 years. This is the age group which is statistically likely to have school-age children, so it is not merely coincidence that the number of young children (under the age of 18) is proportionate to the number of people in the 25 to 40 age group. There is a lower population in the 18 to 24 age group, which is not uncommon for a Town without a college or university.
The pyramid declines at retirement age, a natural phenomenon, but jumps again at the age group of 75 and older, a portion of the population that is usually the smallest. In fact, there are more persons aged 70 and above than people in their early twenties. This indicates an attractiveness of the area for seniors. However, the narrowing of the population pyramid between the ages of 60 and 75 indicates that retirees may be leaving and then returning to the community once they are older.
Another important component of the population is the education level of the community's residents. This correlates to the type of labor pool available for both current and future employers. As Figure A.10, Educational Attainment indicates, both Plainfield and Guilford Township have essentially the same percentage of college graduates (25.3 and 24.7 percent, respectively) as the state of Indiana as a whole (25.2 percent). By contrast, the Indianapolis MSA (31.8 percent), and Hendricks County (31.1 percent) have a higher percentage of college graduates.
Figure A.10: Educational Attainment
Thus, a higher percentage of the labor force in Plainfield is suited for jobs that do not require a college education. However, in the regional context of the MSA and the mobility of workers, it is necessary to further investigate the local economy and employment mix to understand the potential plan implications of this phenomenon. Plainfield must evaluate which jobs it will try to attract within its corporate limits and which jobs will be supplied to residents by other communities within the Metropolitan area. This issue will be explored further in the Economic Characteristics section to follow.
One of the biggest issues facing a rapidly growing population is the type of housing necessary to accommodate that growth: one of the topics that requires careful consideration is the composition of households and the housing types that those households require. Nationally, the number of persons per household has been declining as a result of couples having fewer children, people marrying later in life, and an increase in the divorce rate.
In 2000 there were 7,051 households in Plainfield, reflecting a 69.5 percent increase from the total of 4,160 households in 1990. Similar to the National trend, there has been a 1.2 percent decline in the number of persons per household in Plainfield, from 2.47 persons per household in 1990 to a 2.44 person average household size in 2000. Plainfield also has a lower average household size than the state, Hendricks County, the Indianapolis MSA and Guilford Township, as Figure A.11 Average Household Size details. Because a higher number of persons per household usually correlates with a higher number of children per household, these averages can have significant impacts on projections regarding the education system.
Figure A.11, Households By Type, 2000 indicates the percentage of non-family households in Plainfield and in the region. Non-family households include single person households, such as young singles or widowed senior citizens. The percentage of households with persons over 65 is higher in Plainfield than in the MSA, the County and the state as a whole. It appears that the significant number of childless households in Plainfield are keeping the Town's average household size lower than regional averages.
Figure A.11, Households By Type, 2000
% Family Households
% Non-Family Households
% Households with persons under 18
% Households with persons over 65
In summary, Plainfield has been facing rapid growth over the past decade, both within the Town's corporate limits and within the surrounding Township and County. This is a growth that has corresponded to the growth of the City of Indianapolis, and an increasing relocation of the Town's population to the suburbs. Observations as to the movement of that population indicate that Plainfield and the rest of the northwest corner of the Indianapolis area will continue to grow in the future. Plainfield appears to have a slightly older population, as well as a higher share of small households, and has a slightly lower percentage of college educated residents than the surrounding region.
A strong indicator of the economic health of an area is the unemployment rate. Unemployment throughout the Indianapolis region was exceptionally low and has been throughout the 1990s, as illustrated in Figure A.12 Unemployment Rates. In December of 2002, Hendricks County's unemployment rate was 3.4 percent. Generally, a rate that low is considered full employment, assuming most of the unemployment included in that 3.4 percent are simply in transition between jobs. While a low unemployment rate is good for residents of the region, it is a potential problem when trying to attract new businesses. Businesses considering locating in Hendricks County or more specifically Plainfield, may view a low unemployment rate as a lack of available employee base.
Figure A.12: Unemployment Rates
Hendricks County unemployment trends have largely followed that of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area. However, as the Country, State and region presently sits in a time period of an economic recession, these numbers have risen. As of February 2003, Plainfield's unemployment rate of 5.5 is larger than Indianapolis Statistical Metropolitan rate of 4.9 but is similar to the State's percent. Even with this being true, the annual unemployment rate has remained consistently lower than that of the region, indicating that its residents are securing a good percentage of available jobs throughout the area. Whether or not those jobs are actually located in Hendricks County, however, will be examined at length later in this analysis.
Median Household Income
The Indianapolis region's good economic situation in the past decade is also reflected in the median household income of its residents. Median household income means that as many households are earning more than the median as are earning less than the median.
In 2000, Plainfield's household median income was $46,782, as shown in Figure A.13, Median Household Income. This is over five thousand dollars greater than the median income of the State ($41,567) and one thousand dollars greater than the median income of the Indianapolis region ($45,164). In contrast though, the Hendricks county median income of $55,208 is nearly ten thousand dollars greater than the Indianapolis Metropolitan region income.
Figure A.13: Median Household Income
To this point, the economic analysis has focused on the jobs held by the residents of Plainfield and Hendricks County but not on the jobs that are actually available within the Town or County's limits. The following analyses will look at job growth within the County as well as the proportion of people working within Plainfield and Hendricks County as opposed to commuting to other employment centers. As the Indianapolis region has grown, more than just people have spread into neighboring communities. Those communities are beginning to see a growth in jobs as well. The latest official government figures for industries are for 2000, and they show growth in all sectors of industry in Hendricks County, Figure A.14 Employment by Industry. Throughout the 1990s, Hendricks County has seen dramatic increases in the number of jobs in the service industry and retail industry (the top two industries in Hendricks County). The most prevalent job types in Hendricks County's retail industry are related to general merchandise stores, grocery stores, automobile dealerships, gas stations, restaurants, miscellaneous retail and shopping goods; and the most prevalent job types in Hendricks County's service industry are related to health services, business services, personnel services, and membership/religious organizations.
* Figures for mining and agricultural services (forestry and fishing) were not considered because their numbers were nominal.
Figure A.14: Employment by Industry
The only industry in Hendricks County that showed a decline in the 1990s was the farming industry and is mostly due to the increasing amount of development that is occurring on existing farmland. Surprisingly though, the manufacturing industry which has been declining nationwide has displayed a steady increase. As a result of the overall growth in the county, the construction industry has shown steady increases, exceeding the number of jobs in the Transportation and Public Utilities field, a field which captures a great deal of jobs with Cinergy/PSI as the County's largest employer.
Similar industrial information is not available for Plainfield, but the Town can expect similar trends with the number of retail and service jobs increasing, especially given that the Indiana Youth Center and School Corporation are two of the largest employers in the Town. Additional major retail and service employers in Plainfield include the grocery stores (Kroger and Marsh) and Wal-Mart. Brightpoint is the number one manufacturing industry employer.
The ESRI Business Information Solutions data provides the employment breakdown for jobs located and available within the town limits. Day time employees of Plainfield may or may not be residents of the Town. The largest portions of employees in Plainfield are found in the services (33.8%) and retail trade (22.5%) sectors. A large proportion of residents also work in the service industry in education and other professional and related services (19.2%).
Unfortunately, service industry and retail jobs, although abundant and increasing in Hendricks County and nationwide, are not high paying jobs. In 2000, the average earnings per job in the service industry were $21,277 and the average pay was only $17,329 for retail jobs. Manufacturing jobs, however pay substantially higher at an average rate of $31,163 per year.
Although Hendricks County has shown growth in the manufacturing sector in the past decade, manufacturing jobs still make up a small sector of the County's economy, and the area's number of retail and service jobs is rapidly increasing.
Plainfield, like many smaller communities located outside of a large City, but still considered in the metropolitan area find that many of its residents work outside of the community's limits. In fact, a considerable portion of Plainfield's residents do not work in Plainfield, nearly 70%, as shown in Figure A.15 Places of Work. More than 40% commute to Indianapolis, and another 24% commute elsewhere in the nine county metropolitan area (including elsewhere in Hendricks County). These numbers are on the way down though as those residents that are commuting to Indianapolis and the rest of the Hendricks County have taken jobs within the remaining portions of the Indianapolis Metropolitan region. This commuting pattern, reflects the attractiveness of small town living and life in Plainfield in particular, despite the lack of available local jobs. In the future the Town may choose to capture more of the region's job growth so that people who live in Plainfield can also work in Plainfield. On the other hand, Plainfield may choose to continue to offer a small town lifestyle to Indianapolis commuters. Or the Town may choose to do a mixture of the two scenarios, making commuting to Indianapolis a viable option while providing a job base in Plainfield as an option as well.
Figure A.15: Place of Work
One of the largest concerns of having a commuting population base (and an unequal proportion of residential to commercial and industrial businesses), is a higher property tax. For every $1.00 of tax revenue collected from a residential subdivision, $1.22 is spent by the municipality to provide services to that subdivision. The substantial growth in Brownsburg has meant rapid tax increases. Plainfield has gone from having the highest property tax rate of any Hendricks County community (8.7% in 1993) to the lowest tax rate of any Hendricks County community (8.8%) in 2001, as shown in Figure A.16 Tax Rates.
Figure A.16: Tax Rates in Hendricks County
However, for every $1.00 of tax revenue collected from a commercial development, only $0.32 is demanded in public services. Thus, communities which wish to keep their property taxes down need to offset residential growth with commercial and industrial growth. Fortunately for Plainfield, non-residential growth has recently taken off as a result of initiatives to improve infrastructure and increase incentive programs that have resulted in an impressive swell in commercial, retail and industrial assessed valuation since 1995. Due to such amazing growth in non-residential developments, especially in the industrial assessments, Plainfield has been able to stabilize property tax rates thereby reducing the property tax burden on its residents.
In summary, the Hendricks County and Plainfield economy is growing in all industries. As is the national trend, retail and service industries, although lower paying, are the most common and the fastest growing industries in the Town and in the County. However, 71% of Plainfield residents commute outside of the Town for work, and remaining a bedroom community is likely to continue to put pressure on property taxes which have remained relatively stable over the past decade.
POPULATION, EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING PROJECTIONS
As more people seek the location, convenience and quality of life offered in Plainfield, it is important that a proper residential mix be constructed. If one was to buy an existing house in Plainfield, there would be a fifty percent chance that it was built within the last twenty years (since 1980). Such a relatively young housing stock displays just how quickly Plainfield has been growing. Approximately two thirds of Plainfield's housing is of the single-family detached variety. Single-family detached homes are such a large portion of the housing stock that 79% of the subdivisions built in recent years have consisted of between 3 and 4 dwelling units per acre. This relatively low density requires a large portion of land to house people.
Plainfield and Guilford Township have comparatively equal median housing value, especially compared to the median values for the county, metropolitan region and the state. Guilford Township median home value is only $3,500 more than for Plainfield. Such a situation is uncommon due to the fact that more expensive homes are usually located outside of cities and towns. Presently the majority of homes in Plainfield have values within the $100,000 to $150,000 range, while the median home value range that is desired within the community is $150,000 to $200,000.
As shown in Figure A.17, Population Projections, the most aggressive population projection for 2025 was devised by applying a linear regression analysis to Plainfield building permit data gathered from the Housing and Urban Development web site. This population projection resulted in an estimate of approximately 47,600 people by 2025. This would require 11,200 new homes on 3,400 acres of land, in addition to the land that has already been platted or zoned. Projected annually, roughly 140 acres of residential land would need to be set aside every year, in addition to the land that may be previously plated or zoned, until the year 2025.
Historically, Plainfield has been served by local commercial uses that meet the needs of those living in close proximity to them, as shown in the aerial Figure A.19 Trends in Retail. The primary purpose of these local community nodes has been to meet the day-to-day shopping needs of Plainfield residents and the residents of Guilford Township.
Figure A.17 Population Projections
The amount of retail use in a community is closely associated to the population or number of homes in the community, so it is not surprising that the majority of existing local retail has been built over the last twenty years, with the greatest part of new retail located within the U.S. 40 corridor. In 1990, 360 acres of commercial use existed, and by the year 2000, an additional 120 acres were added for a total of 480 acres.
Based on past trends, two separate retail projections were presented to the Plan Steering Committee. The Committee agreed with the most aggressive projection, indicating that by the year 2025, approximately 735 additional acres will need to be zoned or platted. This is a rate of approximately 30 acres per year. This projection was created by using the same ratio of housing units to commercial acreage in 1990 and 2000.
Industrial development has never been a large proportion of the land use in Plainfield, but in recent years it has seen a rise that has been directly related to the existence and location of the Indianapolis International Airport. The largest proportion of the existing and recent industrial development in Plainfield exists within the Plainfield Business Center at Airwest, as shown in the aerial Figure A.18, Trends in Industrial: Airwest. This Plainfield Business Center was started in 1995 and accounts for over one thousand acres of industrial use. If the rate of industrial growth since 1995 was
to continue at the same rate, nearly 140 acres of industrial land per year would need to be zoned or platted through 2025, resulting in an additional 3,750 acres of industrial land. At this rate, the expected date of build out for the Airwest Business Center would be 2010. The question was posed by the Plan Steering Committee if 3,750 acres of additional platted industrial acreage is needed or wanted in Plainfield by the year 2025.
Figure A.18 Trends in Retail
ELEMENTS OF A HEALTHY COMMUNITY
Before a community can succeed and be healthy, the foundation for success must be in place. This foundation can be described as the "Elements of a Healthy Community" encompassing Leadership, Economic Development and Physical Conditions. These Elements support the operational functions of a community while implementing recommendations found herein.
Some communities are content with being bedroom communities of a larger metropolitan area. At one time, Plainfield could be classified as such a community. However, with its booming regional economy due to warehouse and other light industrial uses and its continued commercial growth, Plainfield is establishing it sown employment sector and its market potential keeps increasing.
Since the 80's, the Town has begun to diversify its economic base, not reliant on one type of market sector or employer. This is due to the impact of the Indianapolis Airport. Several decades ago, a noise study was completed which impacted the residential uses located on the east side of Town. As part of the mitigation, several houses were purchased by the Airport and the residents relocated. With this move, the land on the east side of Quaker Boulevard became prime for other types of development. Working with developers, the Town supported a vision to turn the east side of Quaker Boulevard into an industrial park, now known as AirWest and AirTech. This allowed Plainfield to generate some of the largest industrial leases in the Indianapolis Area. Plainfield has the land capacity to support more growth of that nature and has planned for the road infrastructure needed for future developments.
When discussing market potential with the public and community leaders several strengths were identified that Plainfield can utilize to expand its market potential, including its regional location to the City of Indianapolis. Plainfield is located just west of the Indianapolis Airport at a major east-west interstate (I-70). It has a major north-south access with State Route 267 which links, Plainfield, Avon, Brownsburg and Mooresville and will have another limited access major north-south corridor with the construction of the Ronald Regan Parkway that will connect I-70 to I-74 and eventually I-65. Additionally, the steering committee and public identified low tax rates, the availability of land, the housing mix and existing park and recreational opportunities as existing strengths that the community can use to market to potential businesses.
Likewise, several concerns were identified including how development occurs and the quality of that development. Plainfield can be considered a high growth community and therefore can demand a higher quality of design and growth from development. The question to be answered is how far the community will be willing to go to achieve its goals.
Figure A.19 Trends in Industrial: Airwest
Other concerns that were identified included the "soft" market for office during this current economic climate. Over the past decade and a half, some office development has occurred along Quaker Boulevard (SR 267) in the form of medical offices and the Hendricks Regional Hospital facility. Until very recently office growth has been limited in Plainfield. In 2003, a new office development was approved to become the new Galyan's Headquarters and in early 2004, a mixed use development was approved that will have a combination of office and industry located northwest of the new Ronald Regan Interchange with I-70. As the airport continues its expansion with the building of the new terminal and its new entrance, office, hospitality and airport support uses will desire to be located at that new entrance. With the abundance of land located on the east side of Plainfield, the potential exists for strong development.
A final concern that was discussed that could impact Plainfield's market potential is the concern for housing for executives. The housing market in Plainfield has been very strong. Plainfield has a variety of housing styles from the old historic housing located near the Town Center and the custom built homes along Hadley Road to the production houses providing opportunities to singles and young families. What is noticeably missing is the upper end housing for executives whose businesses are located in Plainfield. Discussions with the public, steering committee and other individuals in the Town indicate that the market may not be strong enough to provide a high end level of housing in Plainfield. Additionally, the past comprehensive plan did not have a housing element that addressed the housing needs and desires of the community to ensure that all housing types were provided.
Opportunities for Growth and Development
Once employment trends are identified and the market potential assessed, ensuring that there are opportunities for growth and development within the community is critical. Areas should be identified as to where specific activities should occur and how those activities manifest themselves in new employment and residential land use areas that would be built on vacant and agricultural land.
When discussing opportunities for growth and development with the public and community leaders several ideas regarding future potential development sites were expressed. It was a general consensus that Plainfield has plenty of available land within its planning areas. However a key issue discussed was whether the community should try to retain its compact nature using a higher density of development or continue to develop at a lower density. The result of this discussion was a compromise to maintain existing densities, however infilling vacant parcels of land with compatible development. Additionally, in order to create the future land use scenarios, development trends were utilized to establish a planned amount of growth to be allocated throughout the Town's existing jurisdiction and future planning area.
Figure A.20, Economic Vitality: Opportunities for Growth, starts to examine where this new growth will occur in the Plainfield study area. Presently commercial development, designated in red, is located on either U.S. 40 or Quaker Boulevard (State Road 267). Major new commercial developments that have occurred on US 40, especially east of SR 267 include The Orchard Market Place development and the Metropolis
Center which is anticipated to have an outdoor concept mall with JC Penny's as an anchor store, a theater, apartments, and other general retail. On County Road 600 (part of the Perimeter Parkway), Sugar Grove will include commercial and residential developments. These commercial areas serve the local and regional community. Much of the commercial located along these two corridors can be considered general commercial uses. Future commercial areas are expected to fill in the vacant gaps along U.S. 40 and Quaker Boulevard (State Road 267). One particular area that will be closely watched for future commercial uses is the area south of Interstate 70 on State Road 267 as the new Ronald Regan Parkway and I-70 interchange is built.
Figure A.20 Opportunities for Growth and Development
Existing industrial, designated with the color purple, is largely located east of Quaker Boulevard between U.S. 40 and I-70. Future growth in the industrial sector is expected to fill in the vacant parcels within the existing industrial areas particularly near the State Road 267 and Interstate 70 interchange and along the newly constructed Ronald Regan Parkway. Further industrial growth is expected to occur north and northeast of the present industrial area.
Residential, represented by the color yellow on the map, is presently located in the central section of the planning study area, largely between Center Street and Quaker Boulevard, with the newer existing growth in residential occurring west of Center Street and south of Hadley Road (CR 600 South). Major new residential developments in 2001 included Nottinghill, Rockingham, Glen Haven West, Providence Estates, the Passage Condominiums, Fairfield Woods, Hickory Woods and Westmere and Woodbrook Subdivisions on County Road 900 between County Road 200 South and US 40. It is anticipated that the growth in residential will occur both to the west of Center Street and to the west of the Indiana Correctional Facility due to the abundance of undeveloped and agricultural land available. It is also anticipated that growth will continue to expand to the northwest section of the study area past Saratoga. One of the main concerns on the north side of Town is the buffer development area between Plainfield and Avon around County Road 200. Therefore one item of discuss for this plan will be the resolution of boundary limits and interjurisdictional agreements.
While several development opportunities have been identified, a specific focus and strategy is needed for development and redevelopment of sites within Plainfield. Just as the Town is undertaking the comprehensive plan to ensure policies are in place, an economic development plan is needed that goes beyond the basic demographic analysis in this comprehensive plan and focuses on the market analysis for Plainfield. While the comprehensive plan identifies targeted locations for economic growth and development, the exact use developed there would be determined more by the market. An economic development plan for the Town would outline a direct strategy for business development and the types of businesses the Town should attract. An economic development plan should focus on the revitalization of the Town Center and the core businesses to be located there. In addition, the location of office and airport related uses west and south of State Road 267 dictates a specific strategy be created that targets specific hospitality uses rather than potential car rental and parking facilities for the airport. Finally, as more businesses locate in Plainfield, a need may arise for a facility for continuing education as well as additional training for employees. The steering committee has also discussed the future of the large institutional site where the current Indiana Boy's School and State Prison are located. Such a large site offers the ability of a multitude of redevelopment uses include the potential for redevelopment into a future local college.
While the public and steering committee has identified more tangible elements to focus on, from a physical land use perspective there are certainly opportunities for growth and re-development in Plainfield. There is sufficient land for future development overall, however, new development must be organized to ensure access, compatibility and to create diverse districts. The immediate need is to determine how new development can be accommodated with necessary infrastructure upgrades, limiting the impact on older, existing development and ensuring that contains the quality Plainfield desires.
The prospects for expansion outside of the Town jurisdiction occur primarily west of Quaker Boulevard, west of Moon Road and northwest of Saratoga Parkway as residential and employment corridors. These primary corridors already have two major drivers for growth: major access into the community and to the larger region, utilities and access to the recreation network. The final development plan will further refine how these core areas should develop out over the next twenty years.
Every community should have a distinct business core where employment and service areas are located. It fundamentally links to the principle of the separation of incompatible land uses and creating a distinct identity within a community. Communities generally have several business cores that focus on neighborhood, community and regional needs that might not be necessarily located adjacent to one another.
The public and community's leaders have identified several areas as key components to their business core. One of the strengths of the core is the length of time many of the businesses have been in the community. These businesses were started in Plainfield and have continued to prosper by offering unique services and establishing a loyal patronage from the local residents. Two major corridors were identified as keys to the business core including Main Street (US 40) and Quaker Boulevard (SR 267).
Plainfield is very fortunate to have these established land use districts within its Town. The identifiable business core is shown in Figure A.21, Business Core. Plainfield has two primary business cores including Quaker Boulevard and Main Street (US 40). The commercial areas located at the Interchange of I-70 and Quaker Boulevard are identified as gateway uses. The uses along both Main Street and Quaker Boulevard are community and neighborhood uses which have a higher likelihood of being locally owned and operated. The users along the west end of Main Street have creatively reused their existing buildings to maintain the core of the Town Center. The Town, in its efforts to revitalize the area, in the past decade has built the Town Hall and recently completed a Town Center Master Plan.
Main Street (US 40), which is part of the Old National Road, is used as a main corridor into the Town from Indianapolis. It contains a range of community convenience type uses with the strip malls, restaurants, gas stations, institutional uses, residential and regional commercial uses with the development of the Metropolis Center. Key to the anchors of this corridor is the current location of Town Hall and adjacent White Lick Creek Park, which anchors the west end of the corridor and the Kohls, Target and Metropolis Shopping Area which provide clothes and house wares to Plainfield's residents.
There were several areas noted that the Town begun to focus improvement efforts. The first was to establish an identity for the business core along US 40. There are three distinct areas of transition on US 40. The first area is the Town Center where local government uses, a church and school and small local businesses are located. The second area is the local commercial including Banning Engineering and the adjacent strip center, Walgreens, and the Plainfield Plaza. This area contains uses that serve the local needs of its residents. These sites have been developed as automobile oriented versus the Town Center which has a more pedestrian orientation. The third area is the regional commercial area, which includes all the commercial uses east of Quaker Boulevard. As one drives through this area, they virtually blend into one another and the only distinguishing elements between the districts are the types of uses. Discussions by Town officials and the recently completed Town Center Plan have identified a streetscape enhancement program to provide an identity to these core business areas. Along with this theme, discussions regarding the expansion of the existing core, focusing on redevelopment of key parcels such as Lovell Field, which is owned by Cingery, and the old Wal-Mart facility.
There have also been discussions about the vacancy of the existing Wal-Mart facility due to a potential new Walmart Superstore along US 40.
Entrepreneurialism can be one of the focuses within a business core. Entrepreneurialism focuses on the opportunities provided to the small business owner to allow them to flourish within the context of the local economy. Generally, these types of businesses are found within a downtown corridor and provide more unique services in order to compete with larger businesses such as Walmart, Home Depot, Jo Ann Fabrics, chain restaurants, etc. They are more apt to either serve the local population or are unique enough to draw from a larger area where the business draws from a tourism element.
Figure A.21: Business Core
These types of businesses can range from restaurants, to business services or specialty retail outlets. Generally they are smaller in nature and do not require large tracts of land or a large building to provide their services.
Plainfield's entrepreneurial climate has allowed many small businesses to flourish. The public has identified with these uses and would like to see them targeted and focused along the Town Center. In 2003, a Town Center Master Plan was completed to provide for economic development strategies and public improvements to the center to ensure that it flourishes. The development and redevelopment of some parcels in this corridor will have some advantages for the smaller businesses in the form of tax incentives, improvement loan programs and façade preservation programs for redeveloping and rebuilding in this corridor. In fact, there could be even more advantages with the designation of a special district which would provide the necessary structure for an identity for the area while providing the needed economic incentives to the smaller businesses to improve their structures. With past emphasis on the Town Center, with the building of the Town Hall at the corner of Center and Main Streets and the development of the White Lick Creek Park and the Recreation and Community Center to the west of the Town Hall, this area, dieing because of competition with other community retail centers, is now finding an identity of its own. Additionally, improvements made to this area, including streetscape enhancements and the addition of second story residential uses would continue to enhance this revitalization and identity. Continuation of revitalization efforts and rejuvenating this area will become the key businesses core and activity center it once was.
The other key area identified as a potential for local servicing businesses is the development of Quaker Boulevard as a community commercial and office corridor. This corridor has some well established land uses including the Marsh plaza, Bank One, Stafford Point Medical Center, Assisted Living Facility and the Hendricks Regional Health Facility located just north of Stanley Road.
Active Business Recruitment/Retention Programs
Ensuring that there is a mixture of small and large businesses within the community relies upon an active business recruitment and retention program. Every community who has identified employment areas will have to actively recruit to draw new businesses to the area. This includes setting forth a marketing campaign and understanding the community's unique strengths. Additionally, identifying the incentives and investments the community is willing to commit is paramount in order for new businesses to be established. These programs can range from providing certain utility services to tax abatement. Depending on how far the community is willing to go and the terms it wants to establish will among other physical characteristics help it to prevail. However, while attracting new businesses to the area, a community must also not forget to undertake a program that supports and maintains the health of the existing businesses. This can include establishing programs to ensure low interest or no interest loans to renovate older or tired structures. This may include assisting a business in finding a new location within the community and providing them with some level of incentive to stay. No matter what the economic initiative, an active business recruitment and retention program is needed for survival of a community like Plainfield competing within its region.
Overall, the public and community leaders indicated that Plainfield has very strong active business recruitment and retention programs. This can be seen with the retention of Galyan's as a cornerstone of a past era's small business. Galyan's, once a small mom and pop sporting goods shop was and still is located on US 40, just west of the Kroger Plaza and across from the old Walmart site. However, in the past two decades with a relatively strong economic market and specialized product this small mom and pop shop has been able to flourish into one of the leading retailers for sporting goods. As part of its heritage, Plainfield worked with Galyans to find a new site upon which to build a new store and headquarters. Areas of concern would be the Town Center and older strip malls such as Plainfield Plaza where small local businesses could fall prey to the much larger economy and competition of Walmart, and Target. It is imperative that this area focus on providing unique services to the residents of the Town, where the much larger commercial and regional centers cannot.
Finally, in order to make some of the above economic elements happen and ensure the economic health of a community, a public and private agenda is needed to move a Town forward. It is a guarantee that a community will invest from the public side to ensure economic development. This comes in the form of ensuring that public utilities are extended, developable land has been identified and zoned properly, application processes are streamlined and transportation infrastructure is in place. However to be truly successful and healthy, there should be public-private agendas that make the economic initiatives of a community a reality. This agenda usually comes in the form of the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce organizing local businesses and figuring out ways to invest in specific areas within the community. The Chamber of Commerce also helps in identifying those economic goals and objectives the community wants to see for an area and uses private investment to help make it happen. For example, the upgrading of a street including the repaving, adding of lights and landscaping, can be accomplished through a public/private agenda working with the Chamber of Commerce or Plainfield Plus group. These parties work together to secure funding nationally or from the state to design and build such an improvement. Another option, if the area is developing from vacant land, is to work with the developer in a partnership to provide some of those elements within the build out of the development. Numerous opportunities within a community exist for the linking of a public and private agenda to ensure that the economic vitality of the community continues.
Plainfield is at a much greater advantage than some communities because it has a strong business core that supports the community and a Chamber of Commerce that focuses on economic development. In the future, Plainfield needs to continue to leveraging its relationships with the Chamber of Commerce, Plainfield Plus and the Hendricks County Economic Development Association to continue to develop more of a public/private partnership regarding development.
Every community has developed for a reason, whether it is a suburb of a major metropolitan area or because as the United States developed, rail or water was a primary access way for the trading of goods and services. Today, with the creation of the interstate system in the 1970's, regional access has become crucial for communities not located within a major metropolitan area to survive. Regional access is one of those components that not every community has, and those who do view it as a prime opportunity for economic development. It provides major access outside of the community to a larger region and therefore becomes a marketing point of the community. How those interchanges are treated, though, can play a major role in the economic development of the community.
Figure A.22, Regional Access, illustrates the major vehicular access into Plainfield and the study area. All of the routes displayed on the map are those streets that would be used to access the greater regional network. These streets are vital to Plainfield not only because they carry the highest volumes of traffic, but they also play an important role in representing the identity of the community. While these regional routes have been designed to carry people from place to place, they become important corridors in which to showcase Plainfield. Interstate 70, represented on the map with the color blue, links east and west and connects Plainfield with Indianapolis and Terre Haute and St. Louis.
Figure A.22: Regional Access
Good internal access is essential for every community to promote the flow of traffic safely within and throughout the community. Internal access is comprised of east-west and north-south connections. In many communities one of these internal access flows dominates over the other as a primary means of connecting one place to another. Having a strong internal access system allows users to exit off regional access points and get to their destination point quickly. Good internal access is a key seller when a prospective business is looking to locate within the community. How internal access flows to undeveloped land and how it accesses the larger regional network can be an opportunity or a weakness for a community.
Plainfield has understood the importance of maintaining and up keeping their roads. What has helped in that effort is that parts of their internal street network is part of the state network. As shown in Figure A.23, Internal Access, Plainfield has three major arterials, including SR267, US 40 and Center Street, which help residents and businesses move people, goods and services throughout the system.
Figure A.23: Internal Access
SR 267 and US 40 are the primary arterials that are the most heavily traveled. When examining this system, however, two of the three major arterials are north-south connectors. US 40 is the only east-west route that provides internal access out to the larger network. There are two other roads that have been identified as center to the internal network. The Perimeter Parkway and Ronald Regan Parkway will provide east-west and north-south access to the larger network. Ronald Regan Parkway is currently being improved and will soon provide an additional north-south access route on the far east side of Town. Perimeter Parkway has been improved in certain areas including the east leg, and the southwest leg at Saratoga Parkway. Eventually when all improvements are finished, this Parkway will provide the much needed east-west connections via Hadley Road and County Road 200. Once improvements are made to the Ronald Regan Parkway and the Perimeter Parkway, they will increase the importance of these corridors within the Plainfield roadway network. New development will be attracted to the I-70/Ronald Regan Parkway interchange and residential development in the southwest portion of the Town will be facilitated by the completion of the Perimeter Parkway.
Plainfield's proximity to the airport has a direct impact on the needed road improvements in the area. The new I-70 interchange at Ronald Regan Parkway (formerly Six Points Road) was proposed to serve the relocated air passenger terminal. The Ronald Regan Parkway with its new interchange at I-70 and planned improvements will become a major axis for Plainfield. Stafford Road was reconstructed to serve airport generated traffic from east to west.
Based on the 1993 Comprehensive Plan and discussions with various Town staff and steering committee members, roadway improvements to the internal network to be reviewed include:
The Perimeter Parkway has been completed in some areas but new segments still need to be created to the north-east around the Saratoga Parkway and to the south-west along Moon Road and Hadley Road.
The proposed Northeast roadway parallel to the Perimeter Parkway, will alleviate traffic from Ronal Regan Corridor, SR 267, and Perry Road, and will open lands for development to the east in the industrial area.
SR 267 does not connect straight through; instead it jogs on US 40 which causes some traffic congestion at peak hours from cars traveling north-south. Identifying Dan Jones road as the new 267 may help to alleviate this congestion.
In 1993, the majority of local streets operated at levels under capacity except a few locations at peak hours. The 1993 Transportation Plan projected that at full build out, assuming no improvements were made, deficient levels of service would exist at several locations: SR 267 at the north south, US 40 between center and SR 267, Center Road, CR 725, Hadley, Stanley, Stafford.
The general thought of most people is that the first impression is a lasting one. The same can be applied to the appearance of a community. When an outsider enters a community what they see visually is how they will always connect and think of a community. The appearance of a community is directly linked to that identity of the community - What is that community about or What is it trying to promote about itself? These types of questions refer back to such areas as market potential, economic development and housing. How each of the areas are addressed and where they impact the community and define the community is what will influence the impression of appearance in the community.
Appearance is generally established through design guidelines. At the core of the issue is the quality of development. Many communities struggle with upgrading their development. Small changes such as corridor improvements or themes to offset an area as a special district or corridor begin to add to the appearance of the community, spurring design changes and a higher quality of development located along those corridors.
While several comments have been made from the public and leadership regarding the appearance of certain areas of the community and a much needed theme, Plainfield does have character that can be incorporated into a theme and design guidelines. Even though Plainfield is a suburban community of Indianapolis, upon approach, Plainfield has a very urban quality at its core with a higher range of densities. This has lead to the development of Town Center and the focus of the Town continues to promote and to maintain the existing housing stock, improve the White Lick Creek Corridor and recruit unique businesses to the area. The housing in the surrounding Town Center neighborhoods boasts smaller lots and higher densities with moderate sized houses that face the street. Parking is typically in the rear or along side the house, with porches that line the street and are inviting to the neighbors.
The commercial development along US 40, whether it is the Plainfield Plaza or the newer development such as the Plainfield Commons or the Metropolis, all have an established theme that is carried out in the architecture, lighting and signage as well as how the buildings orient the lots. Even the industrial areas, viewed from I-70 provide an image to passersby. All of this is an established character that Plainfield should continue to build upon in its new development.
Sense of Place
Creating a sense of place within a community means creating a core within the community that could contain commercial, residential, civic buildings, and/or open space. This core becomes a focal point for the community. These core areas are generally not developed at a community wide scale, but a neighborhood scale. This sense of place is generally identified as an activity center that unifies the neighborhood. Its character often represents the area and plays into the image or identify of the community as a whole. At a neighborhood level this core could be a park, a small commercial district, a plaza or community center.
When residents were asked what they liked about Plainfield and why they live there, most replied that it was family oriented, still had the small town atmosphere, has a level of historic identity and has access to more regional type commercial areas. Plainfield has established a sense of place in several areas throughout the community. As show in the following Figure A.24, Sense of Place, there are several areas that residents in Plainfield can identify. Parks and schools are located where residents in the neighborhoods can access them. The Town Center is another area which gives Plainfield that sense of place and identity. The neighborhoods surrounding the "town center core" are also established and well defined neighborhoods. However, though these neighborhoods are established and some have historic character and structure, several of these areas need to be given special attention to limit their deterioration and to limit the conversion of their uses. Additional ways to create a sense of place are through a series of themes for special key areas such as a special signage program for Town parks and schools, and lighting and banners along key corridors.
Figure A.24: Sense of Place
Figure A.25, Schools, highlights the location of schools in Plainfield and in the planning area. The majority of the schools located on the map belong to the Plainfield Community Schools with the exception of St. Susanna a private pre-school to sixth grade school.
Figure A.25: Schools
Presently, including St. Susanna, there are four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school which serve not only Plainfield but most of Guilford Township as well. Schools are vital to the community and sense of place not only for the knowledge they offer to area surrounding children but also for the identity and common bonds they provide to the community. Schools, colored dark red, are located in the central portion of the developed Plainfield area or very near Plainfield Town Center. The only exception would be Plainfield High School which is located just south of the Town Center core off of Center Street and enrolls over 1,100 students.
Gateways are those key areas along an access route into the community which become the markers that identify the entrance into a community. These areas are identified as those key access routes that are highly traveled entries into the community. These gateways are usually identified as significant places with specific treatments including welcome signs, landscaping and special uses to set the area apart.
There are several existing gateways currently into Plainfield. Figure A.26, Gateways illustrates the internal and external gateways or entrance points that are vital to the economic and business health of Plainfield and the planning study area. These areas are vital to the economic sector of Plainfield due to their location on high traffic volume streets and for their overall placement in relation to potential business destinations. In order to properly present the gateways the map also displays the locations of the existing businesses within Plainfield. Gateways marked with a red dashed circle, represent the locations where people would be entering or leaving the Plainfield boundary study area for economic purposes. Such gateways are located at the interchanges of U.S. 40 and County Line Road, State Road 267 and County Road 300 with the largest gateway at the Interstate 70 and State Road 267 interchange. This location is considered the largest gateway because it is the location in which the majority of trucks and other business transfers must pass to conduct business within Plainfield. The internal gateways, represented by a red asterisk star, are the location which any person doing business internally within Plainfield must physically pass to conduct their business. An example of an internal gateway is State Road 267 and U.S. 40 interchange.
Figure A-26: Gateways
Two needs have been identified, a trail linkage/connection to the neighborhoods on the northeast side of Town and extension of linkages to the west and southwest side of Town where future residential neighborhoods are planned in the future. Additionally, Plainfield should consider trail linkages that will link up with the City of Indianapolis' greenway network and Avon's trail system to create a regional network of greenways and pathways.
Landmarks play a role in the identity, sense of place and history of a community. These are generally markers that should be preserved or protected because they have a value to the community whether historic because it is an old building, because a battle occurred, or because it is significant to the development of a community such as a school or park.
Plainfield's development pattern has been scattered with several identity markers that have added value and a sense of place to the community. The public identifies with the landmarks shown in Figure A.27, Key Landmarks. These landmarks may even be considered so much of an interesting destination that people may travel a long distance from outside the Plainfield study area to experience its qualities or to do business with its staff of professionals. Some landmarks may even be a point of orientation that provides a visual cue in the process of locating other structures or destinations. Identifiable landmarks include Plainfield Town Hall, Cinergy offices, Quaker Church and Central Elementary School, all located on U.S. 40. The largest grouping of landmarks is located in the northwest portion of the planning area south of U.S. 40 and east of Center Street. Most of the landmarks located in this area provide valuable social services not only to Plainfield and Hendricks County but also to the greater metropolitan Indianapolis region. These social services include the Indiana Juvenile Correctional Facility also known as the Indiana Boys School, the Plainfield Correctional facility, and the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Also located in this area is Friendship Gardens a contemplation-oriented park, Swinford Park, Plainfield High School and Hummel Park, a 75 acre Guilford Township park, all of which tie into the White River Greenway Linear Park.
Figure A.27: Key Landmarks
It is important for any community to recognize its past. Mainly due to the fact that the past helped establish the character and qualities that the community now posses. For this reason a community creates a Comprehensive Plan. The most common form of recognition of the past is the preservation of it, primarily through the use of the protection of the community's historic or unique structures and districts being placed on the State or National Registered list of Historic Places. Some communities have had the ability to retain many older buildings together in a core area and register them on the list of historic places. For those communities who have this opportunity, building upon this old heritage can provide for a unique core of housing or business which can incorporate a market potential which other communities around it cannot capitalize on.
The majority of the landmarks identified in Figure A.28, Historic Fabric, because Plainfield is now over 150 years old it should be no surprise that Plainfield contains many historic features that deserve to be preserved. One such feature that is displayed on the map is the location of the Plainfield Historic District which is roughly located on U.S. 40 between Center Street and the northern extension of State Road 267. The Historic District is identified by the yellow circle. Located south of the Historic District is one of Plainfield's National Registered Historic Sites, colored in orange on the map, the T.H.I.&E. Interurban Station. Located to the west of the Interurban Station, in Friendship Gardens is the 1886 Warren Truss Bridge, which as of March, 2003, was considered a pending nomination to be placed on the National Registry. Plainfield's other National Registered Historic Sites are located south of Plainfield's Town Boundaries and include the Sugar Grove Meetinghouse and Cemetery built in 1870 located on Hadley Road and the Kellum/Jessup-Chandler Farm in operation from 1862 to 1924. It is evident that Plainfield is a community that takes great pride in its past and will strive to have more historic structures placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Figure A.28: Historic Fabric
Every community strives to have some type of open space. How that open space manifests itself within a community differs depending on the goals of the community. It is generally one of those valuable commodities, not only for its aesthetic qualities but for its recreation and ecological benefits. Open space can take the form of public or semi-public open space. Generally public open space will refer to those areas within the community that have been identified as natural areas for protection due to wetlands or tree masses or areas for public use such as parks and greenways but it can also be identified as buffer areas against incompatible uses or as agricultural land. This is an important physical component to a community because it enhances the sense of community and place due to the physical character and presence it brings. Open space can become the core of the community. The location of the public open spaces within a community becomes a catalyst for establishing a sense of place and community.
Semi-public open space is deemed as those areas within a community that are provided within any development and are essential to building neighborhoods and a community. Semi-public open space are those transitional areas such as porches which greet the street, front yards which are defined by shorter yards and proportional landscaping which provides and inviting atmosphere. These spaces allow people to have some semblance of privacy within their home environment while still providing a friendly, neighborly atmosphere and interaction.
As shown in Figure A.29, Open Space, the Town has put substantial effort into planning their park network. There are currently seven parks located in Plainfield. The parks are labeled in dark green on the map. The Town has made every effort to link these parks together with sidewalks, pathways or greenways. There is a gathering of parks along Center Street which is linked by the White Lick Creek Greenway. These parks include Franklin Park, Friendship Gardens, Anderson Park, Swinford Park and Hummel Park. Plainfield is also in the process of trying to develop new greenways and open spaces. Proposed greenways extend the existing greenway along Center Street further south, along the Perimeter Parkway, and running east / west along Stafford road and Stanley Road. Presently, there are two proposed parks that are colored light green with diagonal lines. White Lick Creek Park is proposed to be located north of U.S. 40 near Franklin Park while Newby Lane Park is proposed to be located in the northwest section of the planning area. The Town is currently developing a Skate Park to be opened in late 2003 and the Plainfield Recreation Center which will contain indoor and outdoor pools. The recreation center will be opened in the Summer of 2004. There are numerous opportunities for Plainfield to further enhance its open space network by continuing to increase their greenway system, path system and provide parks to developing residential areas.
Figure A.29: Parks and Open Space
Community infrastructure is a key physical condition that directly controls and manages the growth and development of the community and the timing at which it occurs. Impacts of development can be minimized through the use of appropriate infrastructure technology. The type of development and the density of development will determine what type of infrastructure is appropriate and how it should be utilized. Individual septic systems must take into account soil conditions and appropriate filtration. If individual well systems are needed, then considerations have to be given to their location in approximation to the septic system and the structure. In the use of well and septic systems, lower densities are a must to avoid contamination. Most communities have established water and wastewater facilities to service development at a much higher rate and prevent the use of septic and well systems. In general, the ability of a community to provide sewer and water facilities dictates the rate and density at which growth will occur. If a community has the ability to provide these services, a much higher density can be achieved which creates a critical mass for economic development.
With higher intensities of development, run-off detention can become more of a concern to communities. The issue revolves around the collection and treatment of this run-off as it contains pollution including chemicals from vehicles, pesticides, etc.
Generally, communities require retention ponds to collect this water and filter it into a storm water system which provides for the capacity for it to be carried into the wastewater collection system and be treated before being released again.
Other public infrastructure that communities provide to promote development include electric, gas, telephone, cable and fiber optics. While not as substantial in affecting the location and type of development, it still can be a necessary component in the type of development attracted and how the community markets this infrastructure in comparison to other communities.
As shown in Figure A.30, Public Utilities Service Area, the entire planning area has the capability to be serviced with water from Plainfield. The only other remaining area without Plainfield water services is the southeast section of the study area around State Road 67 and the northern central section of the study area near the intersection of State Road 267 and County Road 300. Even though both of these areas are not provided with water service from Plainfield both areas are served by the Indianapolis Water Company. The only area represented on the map that has neither Plainfield nor Indianapolis water service is in the southwest section of the planning area, particularly around the Interstate 70 and State Road 39 interchange.
Figure A.30: Public Utility Service
Because of this restraint on the growth of an area it is important to examine the locations to which sewer service is provided by Plainfield. When the Plainfield sewer service area is examined it is quickly noticed that much of the Plainfield Town Boundary area is covered but outside the Town Boundaries and the remaining study area is not covered by any sewer service provider. Knowing this, it is easy to conclude that all of the planning boundary area outside of the Town Boundaries is using a septic tank or other water disposal system. Within the existing Town Boundaries some areas exist that are not on the Town Sewer systems. These include areas south of Interstate 70, and areas on the western portion of the Town including the Correctional Facilities grounds. Other smaller not serviced areas include areas both east and west of State Road 267 and patches of areas along the northern Town Boundary.
In discussions with the Public Works Department and other staff members, the Town has identified and is designing both new water and sewer plants. The locations of these plants are anticipated to be south of Hadley Road and west of SR 267. It is anticipated that these plants will service the southern residential developments and some of the industries and airport related uses in the industrial park.
Visionary - Plan for the Future
The planning process is about creating a vision and plan for the future. It is an opportunity for a community to set in motion plans for creating their vision that is different and unique from any other community. The comprehensive planning process is the primary tool for communities to define their goals and objectives that establish the growth policies that define their land use and transportation patterns. The comprehensive plan becomes the foundation for implementation measures such as zoning and subdivision control ordinances.
For a comprehensive plan to be effective, it must represent and express the desires of its citizens through the expression of the future appearance and character of the community. The vision within a plan must be a statement that incorporates the protection of health, safety and welfare of the citizens and businesses in the community. This is Plainfield's second comprehensive plan update since 1993. During that time period, amendments have been added to the Plan including the amendment that added the greenways plan.
Additionally, Plainfield's leadership takes pride in ensuring that its vision is fully implemented. Each Town Council member is assigned a specific duty to oversee in the implementation of town business. Some of the areas include streets, public works, parks, economic development, and general development. From the constant review by the Plan Commission regarding the development of Plainfield to the annual report produced by department heads, Plainfield is proactive in managing its growth.
Once the vision is set and policies have been created to direct growth and development, it is important for the community to be fiscally responsible in this implementation. There are several recommendations and improvements that are identified within a comprehensive plan. Unfortunately, a community cannot implement all of these changes at once because the amount of capital is not available. Therefore part of being fiscally responsible is planning out all improvements and their timing and funding through a capital improvements program.
Another component to being fiscally responsible within a community is managing the finances of new projects. There are several ways that communities can fund projects. The most traditional way is through the taxes and the creation of a Town Budget. Management of the budget along with a capital improvements program is one way for a community to remain fiscally responsible. From a planning perspective a community can impact this budget through land-use planning. It has long been proven that residential land uses far exceed their use in services than they pay out in taxes, versus non-residential uses which provide more in taxes than they use in services. The community has to determine and establish in its vision an appropriate mix of land uses to balance the vision and growth direction of the community to achieve the desired level of quality of life. Overall, Plainfield has remained very fiscally responsible in managing its budget, keeping taxes low and maintaining a balance of residential and non-residential land uses. Due to its management of the budget, the Town has been able implement major improvements to sewer and water systems and embark on constructing two new facilities, building a community recreation facility, developing two parks, establishing its greenway system, creating a Town Center plan and updating its comprehensive plan.
Existing Land Use Mix
Documenting existing land-use explains a lot about growth and development patterns over time. As indicated in this section, this growth history and development plays a part in understanding what type and mixture of growth will work for Plainfield in the future. The planning area for Plainfield incorporates the Town's limits and unincorporated areas in Guilford Township. While the areas outside the Town's jurisdiction have been included in The Plan, the Town currently does not have planning or zoning control over these areas.
Figure A. 31: Plainfield Existing Land Uses Breakdown
Figure A.32: Plainfield Planning Area Existing Land Uses Breakdown
Figure A.33: Existing Land Use
Development patterns in the growth area reflect both constant and changing community land use priorities, as shown in Figure A.31, Existing Land Use Breakdown. As the surrounding areas have grown, two land use patterns have emerged: residential development on the west side of town, west of SR 267; and regionally oriented non-residential development east of SR 267. Figure A.33, Existing Land Use, illustrates existing land uses in the town and planning area.
Within the Town, more land is used for natural, vacant and agricultural purposes (51 percent) than for any other single use. Single family uses are the next most common land use, comprising 23 percent of all land. Commercial uses account for only about 4 percent of the Town's land use. Ten percent of the land in the Town is institutional or recreational. In the unincorporated portion of the planning area, the primary land use is agriculture or natural (68 percent), with residential areas comprising twenty percent and two percent as commercial.
Capital Improvement Plan
In investigating existing conditions, it was found that the Town, in and of itself, did not have a specific capital improvements program aligning all of the improvements including parks, road improvements, fire and police service expansion, water and sewer infrastructure improvements, etc. However, while the Town does not have a compiled Capital Improvement Plan, many of the individual departments and service areas compile a plan to present to the Town Council regarding improvements and equipment they will need over the coming years. The fire and police departments present their information in the form of an annual report. The Parks and Recreation department focuses on maintaining and upgrading existing facilities and seeks their additional funding through the Public Works Department. The road improvements are coordinated with Hendricks County, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization and the State in their respective transportation improvement plans. The Public Works department works with the Town Council and Town Manager to determine improvements and their adequate funding. The Planning Department presents their needs to both the Plan Commission and the Town Council to prioritize and assess future studies and additional staff. To help facilitate better coordination and understanding that resources are scarce, it would be the recommendation of this plan that the Town move to a more formal process of a capital improvements plan to manage its improvements and finances.
Strong Intergovernmental Cooperation
Strong intergovernmental cooperation is needed to ensure the implementation of the vision and achieve the goals and objectives of the plan. In many cases cities and towns do not have planning and zoning jurisdiction outside of their boundaries. Additionally, other services provided to residents and businesses such as fire protection, water and sewer services are not under the complete control of the city and town. Therefore, in order to manage and control growth intergovernmental cooperation and agreements are needed to manage how services are provided and extended, especially sewer and water. Establishing open lines of communication with other jurisdictions will only help a community further its goals and vision with regard to land-use and growth.
Regarding intergovernmental cooperation, for Plainfield, this happens on many different levels including relationships with other towns in Hendricks County, MPO, the county boards and commissions and various state agencies including the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Management. None of these relationships were created overnight and are affected by the turnover in personnel or election of new political candidates. However as with any relationship it takes constant management and work to make these relationships stronger.
Corporate Participation and Major Institutional Presence
Strong leadership within a community extends beyond governmental leadership into civic leadership including strong corporate participation and an institutional presence, as shown in Figure A.34, Civic and Other Institutions. Having strong corporate participation helps in marketing a community to new businesses looking to locate in the Town. Corporate leadership also promotes support of other local community activities whether it is through the sponsorship of a local athletic team, boys or girls scouts or helping to beautify an area. These types of sponsorships and participation establish business ties within the community, helping it to grow through corporate participation. If expansion ever occurs, corporate partnership provides a higher likelihood that the business will stay in the community.
Figure A.34 Civic and Other Institutions
Additionally, another partnership can be formed through a major institutional presence if located within a community. The major institutional presence can take the form of a college or university which can provide a partnership through continuing education and opportunities for cultural activities not otherwise found in a community. Other types of institutions which can establish a strong presence in a community include local church networks, major hospitals, or county governments.
The public and Town leaders rate this specific component as average, where improvement can always be made. The Town has benefited from strong corporate participation and presence from the Hendricks Regional Hospital, schools, banks, Guilford Civic Association, Plainfield Plus and the Chamber of Commerce. These entities are finding ways to support the community not only through the sponsorship of a variety of events but also through the donation of time and volunteerism to Town events and projects. However areas that the Town can improve on include the creation of a corporate development plan that looks at how to translate the vision of the Town to the local businesses and how the local businesses, depending on their desired level of involvement, can participate and provide support to the Town whether through the donation of time or resources.
Confidence of Citizenry
All of these leadership components together provide confidence from the citizenry in the community and its leadership. In order for the Town to move forward and achieve success of its goals and objectives, support from the community is needed. This confidence is established during the planning process by educating the public on the issues pertinent to the community and gaining feedback from the public. This give and take process allows for communication, feedback and changes within the community which establishes a level of trust between the public and its leadership. Throughout the planning process there should be multiple opportunities for public input and feedback to ensure the direction of the community is consistent with what its resident's desire.
Overall, Plainfield has its core group of supporters that attend many of the Town events and provide direction on where the Town should head. The Town has also utilized its website, the local newspapers and its Town newsletters to communicate with its residents. The Town needs to work with this group to gain even more support throughout the larger community. This will be a struggle as citizens are busy with work, family events, activities and other social commitments. Many times residents in a community do not turn out until there is a significant issue that directly affects them. This trend should not be taken as a lack of confidence by the citizenry, but it does pose a challenge in trying to find additional, interesting ways to get the public involved and establish on-going communication. Once this plan is adopted, the leadership will have to find creative ways to sell the citizens on the implementation measures of the plan.