Chapter 14.05


14.05.010    Definitions.

14.05.020    Establishment of the plan commission.

14.05.030    Terms of service and qualifications of the citizen members.

14.05.040    Certain legislative appointees’ terms.

14.05.050    Membership vacancies and removal.

14.05.060    Membership expenses.

14.05.070    Conflicts of interest prohibited.

14.05.080    Quorum, official action and organization.

14.05.090    Quarters, records and meetings of the commission.

14.05.100    Expenditures and appropriations.

14.05.110    Gifts and grants and nonreverting fund.

14.05.120    Powers and duties.

14.05.130    Other powers and duties.

14.05.140    Duties regarding zoning, rezoning, street names and numbers.

14.05.150    Optional executive committee.

14.05.160    Grants-in-aid.

14.05.170    Authority to fix fees.

14.05.010 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning:

“Advisory plan commission” means a municipal plan commission, a county plan commission, or a metropolitan plan commission.

“Blighted area” means an area in which normal development and occupancy are undesirable or impossible because of:

(A) Lack of development;

(B) Cessation of growth;

(C) Deterioration of improvements;

(D) Character of occupancy;

(E) Age;

(F) Obsolescence;

(G) Substandard buildings; or

(H) Other factors that impair values or prevent a normal use or development of property.

“Board of zoning appeals,” unless preceded by a qualifying adjective, refers to a board of zoning appeals under either the advisory planning law, the area planning law, or the metropolitan development law.

“Comprehensive plan” means a composite of all materials prepared and approved under IC 36-7-4-500 et seq., or under prior law. It includes a master plan adopted under any prior law. The comprehensive plan is separate from any zoning ordinance, as defined in IC 36-7-1-22 and later in this chapter.

“Development plan” means a specific plan for the development of real property that:

(A) Requires approval by a plan commission under IC 36-7-4-1400 et seq.;

(B) Includes a site plan;

(C) Satisfies the development requirements specified in the zoning ordinance regulating the development; and

(D) Contains the plan documentation and supporting information required by the zoning ordinance.

“Housing authority” refers to a housing authority established under IC 36-7-18.

“Housing project” means any work or undertaking of a housing authority in planning improvements, acquiring property, demolishing structures, constructing, altering, and repairing improvements, and performing other acts necessary to:

(A) Demolish, clear, or remove buildings from any area in which the majority of dwellings are detrimental to the public safety, health, and morals because of dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty design, lack of ventilation, light, or sanitary facilities, or a combination of these factors;

(B) Provide decent, safe, and sanitary living accommodations; or

(C) Accomplish a combination of these purposes.

“Municipal plan commission” means a city plan commission or a town plan commission.

“Park board” means board of parks and recreation or board of park commissioners.

“Plan commission,” unless preceded by a qualifying adjective, means an advisory plan commission, an area plan commission, or a metropolitan development commission. The term does not include a regional planning commission established under IC 36-7-7.

“Planned unit development” means development of real property:

(A) In the manner set forth by the legislative body in the zoning ordinance; and

(B) That meets the requirements of IC 36-7-4-1500 et seq. as added by PL 320-1995, Sec. 2.

“Public place” includes any tract owned by the state or a political subdivision.

“Public way” includes highway, street, avenue, boulevard, road, lane, or alley.

“Redevelopment” includes the following activities:

(A) Acquiring real property in blighted areas.

(B) Replatting and determining the proper use of real property acquired.

(C) Opening, closing, relocating, widening, and improving public ways.

(D) Relocating, constructing, and improving sewers, utility services, off-street parking facilities, and levees.

(E) Laying out and constructing necessary public improvements, including parks, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities.

(F) Restricting the use of real property acquired according to law.

(G) Repairing and maintaining buildings acquired, if demolition of those buildings is not considered necessary to carry out the redevelopment plan.

(H) Rehabilitating real or personal property, whether or not acquired, to carry out the redevelopment or urban renewal plan.

(I) Disposing of property acquired on the terms and conditions and for the uses and purposes that best serve the interests of the units served by the redevelopment commission.

(J) Making payments required or authorized by IC 8-23-17.

(K) Performing all acts incident to the statutory powers and duties of a redevelopment commission.

“Subdivision” means the division of a parcel of land into lots, parcels, tracts, units, or interests in the manner defined and prescribed by a subdivision control ordinance adopted by the legislative body under IC 36-7-4.

“Thoroughfare” means a public way or public place that is included in the thoroughfare plan of a unit. The term includes the entire right-of-way for public use of the thoroughfare, and all surface and subsurface improvements on it, such as sidewalks, curbs, shoulders, and utility lines and mains.

“Zoning ordinance” refers to an ordinance adopted under IC 36-7-4-600 et seq., or under prior law. The term includes:

(A) PUD district ordinances (as defined in IC 36-7-4-1503); and

(B) All zone maps incorporated by reference into the ordinance as provided in IC 36-7-4-600 et seq. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.01].

14.05.020 Establishment of the plan commission.

(A) There is established a municipal plan commission in the town, governed by and pursuant to the provisions of IC 36-7-4 et seq., as may be amended from time to time.

(B) The Highland municipal plan commission consists of seven members, as follows:

(1) The municipal legislative body shall appoint three persons, who must be elected or appointed municipal officials or employees in the municipal government, as members.

(2) The municipal executive shall appoint four citizen members, of whom no more than two may be of the same political party.

(C) The clerk of the municipal legislative body shall certify members appointed by the legislative body, and the executive shall certify his appointments. The certificates shall be sent to and made a part of the records of the municipal plan commission. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.02].

14.05.030 Terms of service and qualifications of the citizen members.

(A) Each member selected under HMC 14.05.020(B)(2) shall be appointed for a term of four years. Citizen members are entitled to participate and vote in all deliberations of the municipal plan commission. Each member’s term expires on the first Monday of January of the fourth year after the year of the member’s appointment. However, if the member is serving as a replacement appointment as set forth in HMC 14.05.050(C), then the term is for the balance remaining on the unexpired term of the vacating member.

(B) A member selected under HMC 14.05.020(B)(2) serves until his successor is appointed and qualified. An original or a replacement member is eligible for reappointment.

(C) Each citizen member shall be appointed because of the member’s knowledge and experience in community affairs, the member’s awareness of the social, economic, agricultural, and industrial problems of the area, and the member’s interest in the development and integration of the area.

(D) A citizen member may not hold other elective or appointive office in municipal, county, or state government.

(E) A citizen member must be a resident of the town. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.03].

14.05.040 Certain legislative appointees’ terms.

The term of office of a member who is appointed from the membership of a legislative body is coextensive with the member’s term of office on that body, unless the town council appoints, at its first regular meeting in any year, another to serve as its representative. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.04].

14.05.050 Membership vacancies and removal.

(A) The appointing authority may remove a member from the plan commission for cause. The appointing authority must mail notice of the removal, along with written reasons for the removal, to the member at his residence address.

(B) A member who is removed may, within 30 days after receiving notice of the removal, appeal the removal to the circuit or superior court of the county. The court may, pending the outcome of the appeal, order the removal or stay the removal of the member.

(C) If a vacancy occurs among the plan commission members who are appointed, then the appointing authority shall appoint a member for the unexpired term of the vacating member. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.05].

14.05.060 Membership expenses.

If a plan commission determines that it is necessary or desirable for members or employees to join a professional organization, or to attend a conference or interview dealing with planning or related problems, the commission may pay the applicable membership fees and all actual expenses of the members or employees, if that amount has been appropriated by the fiscal body of the unit. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.06].

14.05.070 Conflicts of interest prohibited.

(A) As used in this section, “zoning matter” does not include the preparation or adoption of a comprehensive plan.

(B) A member of a plan commission or a legislative body may not participate as a member of the plan commission or legislative body in a hearing or decision of that commission or body concerning a zoning matter in which the member has a direct or indirect financial interest. The commission or body shall enter in its records the fact that its member has such a disqualification.

(C) A member of a plan commission or a legislative body may not directly or personally represent another person in a hearing before that commission or body concerning a zoning matter.

(D) A member of a plan commission may not receive any mileage or compensation under IC 36-7-4-222.5 for attendance at a meeting if the member is disqualified under this section during any part of the meeting. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.07].

14.05.080 Quorum, official action and organization.

(A) A quorum consists of a majority of the entire membership of the plan commission who are qualified by this chapter to vote.

(B) Action of the plan commission is not official, unless it is authorized, at a regular or special meeting, by a majority of the entire membership of the plan commission.

(C) At its first regular meeting in each year, the plan commission shall elect from its members a president and a vice-president. The vice-president may act as president of the plan commission during the absence or disability of the president.

(D) The plan commission may appoint and fix the duties of a secretary, who is not required to be a member of the commission. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.08].

14.05.090 Quarters, records and meetings of the commission.

(A) The municipality shall provide suitable offices for the holding of advisory plan commission meetings and for preserving the plans, maps, accounts, and other documents of the commission.

(B) The plan commission shall fix the time for holding regular meetings each month or as necessary. The commission shall keep minutes of its meetings. The minutes of commission meetings and all records shall be filed in the office of the commission and are public records.

(C) Special meetings of the plan commission may be called by the president or by two members of the commission upon written request to the secretary.

(D) The secretary shall send to all members, at least three days before the special meeting, a written notice, fixing the time and place of the meeting. Written notice of a special meeting is not required if:

(1) The date, time, and place of a special meeting are fixed in a regular meeting; and

(2) All members of the commission are present at that regular meeting. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.09].

14.05.100 Expenditures and appropriations.

(A) The fiscal body of the municipality may make appropriations to carry out the duties of the commission.

(B) Each plan commission may expend, in accord with applicable municipal fiscal procedures, all amounts appropriated to it for the purposes and activities authorized by this chapter.

(C) At the end of each fiscal year, any unexpended part appropriated by the town reverts to the town’s general fund. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.10].

14.05.110 Gifts and grants and nonreverting fund.

(A) The municipality may accept gifts, donations, and grants from private or governmental sources for advisory plan commission purposes.

(B) Any money so accepted shall be deposited with the municipality in a special nonreverting plan commission fund, to be available for expenditures by the plan commission for the purpose designated by the source. The fiscal officer of the municipality shall draw warrants against the special nonreverting fund only on vouchers signed by the president and secretary of the commission. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.11].

14.05.120 Powers and duties.

(A) The advisory plan commission may appoint, prescribe the duties, and fix the compensation of such employees as are necessary for the discharge of the duties of the commission. This compensation must be in conformity with salaries and compensation fixed up to that time by the fiscal body of the municipality. The commission may contract for special or temporary services and any professional counsel.

(B) The plan commission shall:

(1) Supervise and make rules for the administration of the affairs of the commission (in the case of an advisory plan commission) or of the planning department (in the case of an area plan commission or a metropolitan development commission);

(2) Prescribe uniform rules pertaining to investigations and hearings;

(3) Keep a complete record of all the departmental proceedings;

(4) Record and file all bonds and contracts and assume responsibility for the custody and preservation of all papers and documents of the commission (in the case of an advisory plan commission) or of the planning department (in the case of an area plan commission or the metropolitan development commission);

(5) Prepare, publish, and distribute reports, ordinances, and other material relating to the activities authorized under this chapter;

(6) Adopt a seal;

(7) Certify to all official acts;

(8) Supervise the fiscal affairs of the commission (in the case of an advisory plan commission) or of the planning department (in the case of an area plan commission); and

(9) Prepare and submit an annual budget in the same manner as other departments of the municipal government, and be limited in all expenditures to the provisions made for the expenditures by the fiscal body of the municipality. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.12].

14.05.130 Other powers and duties.

(A) The advisory plan commission shall prescribe the qualifications of, appoint, remove, and fix the compensation of the employees of the commission, which compensation must conform to salaries and compensations fixed before that time by the fiscal body of the municipality.

(B) The commission shall delegate authority to its employees to perform ministerial acts in all cases except where final action of the commission is necessary.

(C) The plan commission may designate a hearing examiner or a committee of the commission to conduct any public hearing required to be held by the commission. Such a hearing must be held upon the same notice and under the same rules as a hearing before the entire commission, and the examiner or committee shall report findings of fact and recommendations for decision to the commission.

(D) The commission shall by rule provide reasonable opportunity for interested persons to file exceptions to the findings and recommendations, and if any exception is filed in accordance with those rules, the commission shall hold the prescribed hearing. If no exception is filed, the commission shall render its decision without further hearing.

(E) The advisory plan commission shall sue and be sued collectively by its legal name, styled as “Highland plan commission,” with service of process on the president of the commission or the town clerk-treasurer. No costs may be taxed against the commission or any of its members in any action. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.13].

14.05.140 Duties regarding zoning, rezoning, street names and numbers.

(A) The plan commission shall make recommendations to the legislative body concerning:

(1) The adoption of the comprehensive plan and amendments to the comprehensive plan;

(2) The adoption or text amendment of:

(a) An initial zoning ordinance;

(b) A replacement zoning ordinance; and

(c) A subdivision control ordinance.

(3) The adoption or amendment of a PUD district ordinance as defined in IC 36-7-4-1503; and

(4) Zone map changes.

(B) The plan commission shall render decisions concerning and approve plats, replats, and amendments to plats of subdivisions under IC 36-7-4-700 et seq.

(C) The plan commission:

(1) Shall assign street numbers to lots and structures;

(2) Shall renumber lots and structures; and

(3) The plan commission may recommend the naming and renaming of streets to the municipal executive.

(4) The municipal executive shall name or rename streets. However, a unit may provide by ordinance that the plan commission, rather than the executive, shall name or rename streets. Streets shall be named or renamed so that their names are easy to understand, and to avoid duplication or conflict with other names. The plan commission may, by rule, prescribe a numbering system for lots and structures.

(D) The plan commission shall make decisions concerning development plans and amendments to development plans under IC 36-7-4-1400 et seq.

(E) The plan commission may establish advisory committees of citizens interested in problems of planning and zoning. In its resolution establishing such a committee, the commission shall specify the terms of its members and its purposes. Each advisory committee shall:

(1) Study the subject and problems specified by the commission and recommend to the commission additional problems in need of study;

(2) Advise the commission concerning how the subject and problems relate particularly to different areas and groups in the community; and

(3) If invited by the commission to do so, sit with and participate, without the right to vote, in the deliberations of the commission, when subjects of mutual concern are discussed. A committee shall report only to the commission, and shall make inquiries and reports only on the subject and problems specified by the commission’s resolution establishing the committee. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.14].

14.05.150 Optional executive committee.

(A) The plan commission may establish an executive committee of not less than three nor more than seven persons appointed by the commission from its membership. The establishment of the executive committee, the naming of its individual members, and the adoption of rules governing its operation requires a two-thirds majority vote of the entire membership of the commission.

(B) A majority of the executive committee may act in the name of the commission; but if there are any dissenting votes, a person voting in the minority may appeal the decision of the executive committee to the commission. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.15].

14.05.160 Grants-in-aid.

The plan commission may, within its approved budget, negotiate for grants-in-aid and agree to terms and conditions attached to them. This section is specific authority to enter into grants-in-aid agreements under 40 USC 461. Under the same limitations, the commission may enter into grant-in-aid agreements under that act, as amended, and any other act relating to planning and zoning. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.16].

14.05.170 Authority to fix fees.

The plan commission may establish a schedule of reasonable fees to defray the administrative costs connected with:

(A) Processing and hearing administrative appeals and petitions for rezoning, special exceptions, special uses, contingent uses, and variances;

(B) Issuing permits; and

(C) Other official actions taken under IC 36-7-4. [Ord. 1157 § 2, 2000. Code 2000 § 215.17].