Survey to help craft new city plan

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BELOIT - City of Beloit residents and visitors are being asked to weigh in on the city's economic and residential development prospects as part of the ongoing effort to update Beloit's comprehensive plan.

The Beloit City Council approved an update of the 2008 comprehensive plan late last year, with a steering committee of business, city and development leaders serving to move the process forward.

A rough draft of the plan could be ready by this spring and a final plan could be coming before the council following various public outreach efforts.

The 22-question survey gives residents and visitors a chance to speak up on what the state of development, both commercial and residential, looks like in Beloit, while also asking what trends residents would like to see in the future.

The steering committee is hoping for 500 responses. To date, the city has received 400 responses, according to Building and Planning Services Director Drew Pennington.

Pennington said the diverse make up of the 30-member steering committee improved the survey's reach. The committee will review survey results "by mid-February," he said, followed by text and map amendments.

"It's a big part of getting the survey out, too," Pennington said. "We are leveraging those people and their backgrounds to get the survey to their audiences. If we can blast that to them in that way, that will be key for us."

The city's updated comprehensive plan will focus on residential development; creating healthy neighborhoods with sights set on enriching existing neighborhoods with in-fill development, revitalizations and rehabilitations of vacant properties in the city.

Zoning recommendations could include creating provisions to allow micro housing "tiny house" developments and creating a specific mixed use zoning district, to differentiate between current zoning.

Pennington said the new long range document would account for "new commercial energy" forecasted for the Gateway Business District with the realignment of the Interstate 43/Milwaukee Road interchange construction. The committee will review whether or not to amend zoning in the area, currently all planned business park, for businesses.

"We need to look to see if there are pockets needed for commercial development," Pennington said. "It's going to be the front door to Beloit."

To take the city-sponsored survey, visit surveymonkey.com/r/KN6HV6V.

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