The “First Draft” of a proposed village plan and a set of potential village boundaries for Windham are ready for public review and comment. The documents were prepared by Johnson County Planning, Development and Sustainability (PDS) Department staff following two community meetings and other input opportunities for Windham area residents, property owners and any interested persons. PDS staff is coordinating the planning effort at the direction of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.
The public is welcome to share comments by Friday, Oct. 14. County planning staff will review all input and incorporate changes as warranted. The draft documents are available online at johnsoncountyiowa.gov/windham-village-planning and hard copies can be accessed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the PDS Department, located on the second floor of the Johnson County Administration Building, 913 S. Dubuque Street in Iowa City.
Members of the public may share comments or request more information by contacting Nate Mueller, PDS assistant director, at [email protected] or 319-356-6083. Comments can also be mailed to Mueller at the address provided above.
The “First Draft” document includes a brief introduction about village planning, a vision statement and goals to guide any future development requests, a village profile, and summaries of the community meetings. The “Potential Village Boundaries” document shows five potential boundaries for commenters to rank or indicate preferences.
The purpose of a village plan and boundary is to help balance preservation of agricultural land and environmental amenities with appropriate growth opportunities. Village plans also work in tandem with other Johnson County planning documents to guide decision-making by the Board of Supervisors and the Planning and Zoning (PZ) Commission.
Whether a property is included within an eventual village boundary or not, all existing uses of a property may continue — or may be enlarged, altered, expanded or reconstructed — provided that they conform with current regulations in the County’s Unified Development Ordinance. This includes properties that are currently agriculturally exempt. A property that is agriculturally exempt is considered to be in compliance with the ordinance so long as exemption is maintained. In general, when a property is included within a village boundary, there is more opportunity for development than if the property were outside the boundary.
The draft plan and boundary that result from the current input process will be called the “Public Hearing Draft,” which is anticipated to be discussed at the Monday, Nov. 14, PZ Commission meeting. At least two weeks prior to that meeting, the public will be given access to that draft and information on how to attend the meeting in person or virtually. Following the PZ Commission hearing, the Board of Supervisors will set public hearings that are anticipated to take place in early December to consider the proposed plan. There will be further opportunities to share input.
Two additional resources are available online and at the PDS office: adopted plans for other villages at johnsoncountyiowa.gov/compplan and an overview of what a village plan does and does not do and the planning process at johnsoncountyiowa.gov/villageplanning.