Below is a list of language in existing comprehensive plans for selected areas that demonstrate some commitment to protect natural spaces, implement green infrastructure at both landscape and site-specific scales, encourage the use of low impact development (LID) techniques, and other environmentally protective measures. 

Marion County

Marion County Land Use Plan Pattern Book / Element

  • Overlays:
    • Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ES): The Environmentally Sensitive Areas Overlay is intended for areas containing high quality woodlands, wetlands, or other natural resources that should be protected. The purpose of this overlay is to prevent or mitigate potential damage to these resources caused by development. This overlay is also appropriate for areas that present an opportunity to create a new environmental asset. This overlay is not intended for the preservation of open space.
  • Suburban areas: When developing single family housing, the plan recommends that:
    • Natural Corridors and natural features such as stream corridors, wetlands, and woodlands should be treated as focal points or organizing systems for development.

Thrive Plan 

  • Goals:
    • Built environment: Improve onsite stormwater retention programs by incentivizing rain barrels, rain gardens and green roofs. Register 500 residential and nonresidential properties in the stormwater credit program by 2022. 
    • Natural resources: Increase green spaces to improve stormwater infiltration and ensure appropriate ongoing maintenance by 2022. 
    • Natural resources: Develop and deploy a more robust stormwater and water quality education program, including addressing chemicals in landscaping, by 2022. 
    • Natural resources: Implement a policy to ensure the use of 100% native plants and proactive removal of invasive species in parks and along greenways by 2022.

View Marion County’s Thrive Plan.

View the full plan.  

Hamilton County

Hamilton County Comprehensive Plan

  • Vision statements and recommendations:
    • Protect floodplains and natural resources. 
    • Adopt a policy that incentives the development of green infrastructure. 
    • Adopt a policy that promotes conservation subdivisions: A Conservation Subdivision would preserve 50% – 70% of the buildable land, plus the areas likely to be unbuildable, such as wetlands, steep slopes, and floodplains. Homes within the subdivision are clustered to avoid the conservation area.

View the full plan.


Noblesville Comprehensive Plan

  • Desired plan outcomes:
    • Smart Growth: Accommodate the types (and mix) of land use activities and development types that have the ability to sustain and grow the City’s tax base, while preserving and protecting the community’s natural features and environmentally sensitive areas.”
  • Policy objectives for growth management:
    • Protecting the floodplain. 
    • Focusing on infill and redevelopment opportunities, where appropriate. 
  • Floodplain management objectives:
    • Designate floodplain corridors to direct future development in areas where it is appropriate, to serve as a community asset, and to provide protection from the detrimental impacts to and from adjacent land uses.
    • Encourage the protection and increased use of Morse Reservoir as a community attraction in the following ways: Apply special watershed management attention to areas contributing flow to the reservoir.
  • Low impact development policy objectives:
    • Low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure practices have been developed to mitigate the negative impacts of stormwater at the site, municipal, and watershed levels. LID is a strategy to minimize runoff by decreasing site disturbance during construction, preserving existing natural features on a site, reducing the amount of impervious coverage, disconnecting drainage flows, and increasing opportunities for infiltration. This can be accomplished through a combination of thoughtful site design, bio- retention structures, and pervious pavements.
    • Encourage development proposals to include green infrastructure. This may include reduced stormwater utility fees and height or density bonuses.

View the full plan.


Fishers 2040 Comprehensive Plan

  • Trends and conditions for parks, open space, and natural resources:
  • Minimize environmental impacts of growth: The city retains a significant amount of undeveloped land, forested areas and waterways that provide recreational opportunities, promote healthy living and serve as wildlife habitat. Growth and development are the greatest threats to these natural assets. Through the parks and land use planning efforts and adopted policies, key undeveloped areas have been identified to preserve for future generations. Environmentally sensitive development practices will help to mitigate the impacts on habitat and waterways.
  • Goals: One of the key goals in the Fisher’s 2040 Plan is to create “enduring sustainable neighborhoods. Specific objectives include:
  • Develop a set of best practices the City should pursue to conserve and protect Fishers’ natural systems.
    • Revise the UDO to encourage the use of low impact development (LID) practices in the design, construction and maintenance of residential neighborhoods, redevelopment sites and in mixed use areas.
  • Design standards: Key standards from the Design Standards Section, which outlines policies that are the adopted standards of the City of Fishers: 
  • Green Infrastructure: The City of Fishers has established storm water design standards that allow for green infrastructure and low impact development to be implemented on all construction projects. To facilitate these designs, the director of engineering may allow for deviation from the standards of this plan and from the standard construction details. Deviations may include, but are not limited to, alternative curb designs, porous pavements, rain gardens and swales.
  • Parks: Key findings from Fisher’s Parks and Recreation Facilities Plan Section:
  • Additional Parkland Needed: To maintain the desired park acreage ratio (6.75 acres/1,000 people) through 2040, additional parkland will need to be acquired to meet the needs of the forecasted population growth. This plan identifies preferred target areas based on the land acquisition analysis.
    • Connect Park System and Natural Amenities: There is currently a lack of publicly accessible land and overall connectivity along the city’s natural amenities including Geist Reservoir and the White River. This plan provides ways to improve access and connectivity throughout Fishers.

View the full plan.


Carmel Comprehensive Plan

  • Policy goal: Manage community form. 
    • As Carmel continues to infill and develop, new developments should strive to incorporate natural areas, as well as to create unique public spaces and private common areas throughout a development.
  • Policy goal: Cultivate community character. 
    • Encourage usable and functioning green spaces, green roofs, green walls, and other features to help beautify the City while managing stormwater and providing wildlife habitat. 
    • Encourage the preservation, replacement and continual planting of canopy shade trees throughout the city. Areas of focus include woodlands within new developments, streetscapes, and parking and open space areas. Care and maintenance of the trees and landscaped areas should be a priority to ensure a safe and longstanding environmental system. Canopy trees are desired because they add character and comfort to the built environment. They also provide relief from heat, soften noise and light, help purify the air, and increase property values. 
    • Reduce unnecessary removal of trees on lots, encourage preservation of mature trees, and require replacement of trees that have been removed for development.
  • Policy goal: Lighten Carmel’s environmental footprint.
    • As a signatory of the Paris Climate Agreement, and having passed resolution no. CC 02-20-17-04, develop and maintain a Climate Action Plan to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal. This plan should bridge across public, nonprofit, private, and philanthropic sectors to align efforts and finance flows with a resilient pattern of development.
    • The City should encourage use of water-saving devices, and request that citizens reduce water consumption by proper (“smart”) lawn sprinkling and exploring native and drought-resistant landscapes which require less water. Encourage rainwater (i.e. gray water) recycling to reduce potable water consumption and implement reclaimed water systems at City properties to conserve water used for landscaping. Promote low impact development measures such as stormwater infiltration, rain gardens, and green roofs when feasible. 
    • Continue to protect regional surface and ground water sources to ensure safe drinking water for Carmel and adjacent municipalities. Institute regulations that further protect the delineated wellhead protection areas from contaminants and land uses that have a higher risk of contaminating water resources. Consider incentivizing more native plantings, requiring less irrigation. 

View the full plan.

Boone County  

Boone County Comprehensive Plan

  • Goals: 
    • Promote local policies and practices that protect water, air, and land through the use of best management practices to ensure sustainable long-term use. 
    • Recognize agriculture as productive landscape and preserve these uses for the production of food, fiber, and fuel. 
    • Preserve the viability, productivity, character, and quality of Boone County’s agricultural and water resources. 
    • Conserve farmland and agriculture with zoning standards that protect, promote, and grow agriculture within Boone County. 
    • Support green development and environmentally responsible residential development and housing. 
  • Objectives:
    • Coordinate with the County Health Department, IDEM, USGS, IDNR for water quality and quantity protection in Boone County and amend ordinance in appropriate cases where water quality/quantity is jeopardized.
    • Utilize Best Management Practices and Low-Impact Development Practices in new construction projects that minimizes/controls/diverts surface water runoff. 
  • Land use definitions: 
    • “Low-Density Residential… Developments should occur near established areas where new residents can work, shop, and play, and should not rely on well and septic systems. Conservation subdivisions are an appropriate type of development when the low-density residential site includes natural areas that can be preserved, including such things as riparian areas, wetlands, and woodlots.”
  • Floodplain preservation statements:
    • Eagle and Union Townships have continued to experience the most intense development pressure in Boone County, due to their proximity to Indianapolis and the access from I-65 and US Hwy 421. Zionsville exhibits an attractive small-town atmosphere, and the surrounding area boasts rural scenery including rolling hills, streams and flood plains… The flood plains of Big and Little Eagle Creeks and their accompanying tributaries have limited development along the northeast side of Zionsville but provide a network of available open space, particularly connecting Union Township with Eagle Township and Zionsville. The floodplain of Fishback Creek creates open space links between southeast Boone County and northern Marion County that should be preserved as potential greenways connecting developed areas.
    • The floodplain corridors of Big Walnut Creek and Big Raccoon Creek should be preserved to ensure continued flood control and drainage within the southwestern portion of the county.
    • Portions of Sugar Creek, Brown’s Wonder Creek, and Mud Creek traverse this area, adding scenic wooded stream corridors to a largely cultivated landscape. The Sugar Creek, Browns Wonder Creek, and Mud Creek floodplains are heavily wooded and well defined. Efforts should be made to preserve and protect these corridors for flood control, drainage, and wildlife habitat.
    • The scenic wooded corridors of Sugar Creek and Wolf Creek bisect the township. These wooded floodplains should be protected to ensure continued groundwater recharge, maintain flood control capacity, and protect high-quality wildlife habitat. 

View the full plan.


Lebanon Comprehensive Plan

  • Land use objectives: 
    • Protect flood hazard areas and wetlands from future development and promote removal of existing structures within these areas. 
    • Incentivize green infrastructure and stormwater best management practices to reduce stormwater volumes and the subsequent risk of flooding.

View the full plan.

This content was made possible thanks to the Nina Mason Pulliam Grant and a partnership between the Hoosier Environmental Council and Butler University.