City's 10-year growth plan nearly ready for council

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Pennington

BELOIT - A drafted projection to reshape future development and growth in Beloit is nearing completion, with the city set to present its updated comprehensive plan to the Beloit City Council next month, according to staff.

Since November of last year a steering committee of property owners, developers, planners and city staff authorized by the council has worked to draft a new 10-year plan to forecast land use, development, future mapping and areas of potential growth.

Along the way, residents had input on the process with two open houses being held on the draft, along with a study the committee used to base new recommendations.

On Wednesday, the city's Plan Commission unanimously approved the drafted update of the 2008 comprehensive plan, paving the way for potential council approval on Oct. 15, according to Building and Planning Services Director Drew Pennington.

Leading up to the October meeting, residents can still have input on the plan and formally object to its contents.

Overall, Pennington said the process has fostered healthy discussion regarding Beloit's future, and he commended the work of those on the steering committee.

"I think it has gone well. Our steering committee has been great," Pennington said. "We really tried to listen to the community with the survey and the open houses."

The updated plan forecasts more than 8 percent growth for Beloit over the next two decades, along state projections and includes various recommendations for incentivizing single-family and other residential options; creating an entertainment district in the Gateway Business Park; drafting names for all city neighborhoods; and encouraging future business growth.

The plan also tackles what to do with the city's 193 vacant buildings, 173 of which are vacant single-family homes, two are multi-family buildings, 12 are commercial properties and six publicly-owned properties, according to Beloit housing data.

The plan recommends new uses for properties, but stops at tackling density issues. All recommendations in the plan must comply with future zoning process changes, with none of them being mandatory since some recommendations fall over privately-owned land.

"Now is the time to look at everything and to decide if there are any objections to it," Pennington said.

To view the plan, visit the city's website at beloitwi.gov. To submit comments or a formal objection, contact the planning division at 608-364-6700.

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