Newton’s Future: Hazard Mitigation and Government Draft Chapters

If you think we’ve missed something, don’t have something quite right, or just want to tell us its on the right track, please email our Newton Development Planner, Erin Chambers at erinc@newtongov.org or comment below.  Please note that what is presented is certainly a draft. After citizens have a chance to take a look and make suggestions on the plan basics, we will fine-tune and polish each chapter into a final version.

Hazard Mitigation: Newton Hazard Mitigation Chapter

Government:  Government

Newton’s Future: Housing, Health, Education

If you think we’ve missed something, don’t have something quite right, or just want to tell us its on the right track, please email our Newton Development Planner, Erin Chambers at erinc@newtongov.org or comment below.

Please note that what is presented is certainly a draft. After citizens have a chance to take a look and make suggestions on the plan basics, we will fine-tune and polish each chapter into a final version.

 

Housing:  Housing

Health: Health Chapter

Education: Education

Newton’s Future: Economic Development, Identity, Sustainability Draft Chapters

If you think we’ve missed something, don’t have something quite right, or just want to tell us its on the right track, please email our Newton Development Planner, Erin Chambers at erinc@newtongov.org or comment below.

Please note that what is presented is certainly a draft. After citizens have a chance to take a look and make suggestions on the plan basics, we will fine-tune and polish each chapter into a final version.

 

Economic Development:  Newton Economic Development Chapter

Identity: Identity Chapter

Sustainability:  Newton Sustainability Chapter

Newton’s Future: Introduction, Land Use, Community Aesthetics Draft Chapters

Over the past year, the Newton’s Future Steering Committee has worked through thousands of comments and ideas generated by Newton citizens.  The nuts and bolts of the plan have been formulated directly from all of the citizen input provided over the past year, and now we are looking for comments and thoughts from citizens.

Please note that what is presented is certainly a draft.  After citizens have a chance to take a look and make suggestions on the plan basics, we will fine-tune and polish each chapter into a final version.

If you think we’ve missed something, don’t have something quite right, or just want to tell us its on the right track, please email our Newton Development Planner, Erin Chambers at erinc@newtongov.org or comment below.

Introduction:  Newton Introduction DRAFT 9-17-12

Land Use: Newton Land Use DRAFT 9-17-12

Aesthetics: Newton Community Aesthetics DRAFT 9-17-12

Survey Results Available to the Public

The Comprehensive Planning Consultant, Stantec, and City Staff are diligently working on formulating a draft of plan goals and recommendations for Newton’s Future: A Comprehensive Plan.

Public Input that has been collected to date serves as the base for the planning effort. Earlier this year, a Community Attitude Survey was distributed and completed by more than 700 people.

If you are interested in viewing the results of the survey, they are available to the public here:

Community Attitude Survey Results

Topic Team: Sustainability

On Tuesday, February 21st, a group of citizens met to discuss sustainability as it relates to development and environment.  They worked through a set of draft goals and policies offering fresh ideas.  A follow-up meeting to further discuss these goals and policies was held on March 6th.  However, that meeting had low attendance.

Below you will find the current draft of the Sustainability Goals and Policies.  Of course, further comments are welcome from the public.  Feel free to contact the Newton Development Planner, Erin Chambers at erinc@newtongov.org with suggestions or more ideas.

These draft goals and policies will again be subject to further review in a public forum before being incorporated into any final document.

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Sustainability

Sustainability can mean many things depending on the context.  From a comprehensive planning standpoint, sustainability means to leave Newton in better condition for future generations.  Specifically, Newton’s sustainability goals and policies address the conservation of natural resources through efficient use of land, energy, water, air and materials.

 Goal 1:  Continue to grow renewable energy industries (“Green Collar Jobs”) in Newton.

 Rationale:  An industrial sector that includes renewable energy industries accomplishes a number of things for Newton.  While providing manufacturing jobs for the community, it also places renewable energy and sustainability, such as wind-power, into the forefront of our consciousness, thus building a value for conservation and protection of natural resources throughout the City.

 Policy 1:  Support and encourage expansion of existing “green” industries while seeking out new “green” businesses.

 Policy 2:  Promote and support the existing education infrastructure for local industrial and renewable energy training at the newly established I-Green Center and Des Moines Area Community College.  A well-trained workforce will attract new “green” industries to the community as well as encourage growth of existing ones.

 Goal 2:  Reduce Newton’s impact on the South Skunk Watershed.

 Rationale:  Newton does not exist in a bubble, and storm water generated within our City boundaries eventually leaves working its way down stream to the South Skunk River.  To that end, it is important for our community to consider how our development actions and practices can impact the South Skunk Watershed and to work to improve any negative impact the City may have on the watershed.

 Policy 1:  Review storm water retention requirements for commercial and industrial developments/re-developments and amend those requirements where necessary so as to encourage the use of natural systems such as rain gardens in the slowing and treatment of storm water on commercial and industrial sites.

 Goal 3:  Become a green community.

 Rationale: Becoming a green community has many benefits.  First of all, green building and development techniques can continue to preserve our natural resources for generations to come.  Secondly, as energy costs continue to soar, greener technologies for energy generation and efficiency become much more attractive and possible.  Finally, not all sustainable land development practices are costly or difficult.  Newton could, quite literally, become a green community through the strategic use of trees and other plantings.

 Policy 1:  Encourage and promote a new standard landscape aesthetic within the community that is more native and natural than the heavily manicured, heavily waters, and heavily fertilized aesthetic of the past.  The City of Newton should model this aesthetic on City owned land.

Policy 2:  City landscaping projects should utilize native Iowa plantings and trees while striving for diversity.  A diverse tree and plant population will reduce the impacts that pests, blight, and disease, such as Emerald Ash Borer or Dutch Elms Disease, can have on communities.

 Policy 3:  Continue support and foster the growth of the Community Garden programs.  Community Gardens can provide citizens with healthy, fresh food that has been locally grown.

 Policy 4:  Utilize new technologies that reduce energy consumption and/or have a lower impact on the environment when possible.  For example, city lighting projects should utilize LED lighting which has a longer bulb life and consumes less electricity.

Topic Team: Housing

On Monday, February 20th, a group of citizens met to discuss housing in out community.  They worked through a set of draft goals and policies offering fresh ideas.

The following are some draft goals and policies that came from that specific conversation.  Of course, further comments are welcome from the public.  Feel free to contact the Newton Development Planner, Erin Chambers at erinc@newtongov.org with suggestions or more ideas.

These draft goals and policies will be subject to further review in a public forum before being incorporated into any final document.

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Housing

Goal 1: Improve neighborhood curb appeal.

Rationale:  Maintenance of existing housing and neighborhoods is vital to the health of the community and the housing sector.  Well-maintained neighborhoods, at all price points, attract new people to the community.

 Policy 1: Utilize a property maintenance code through an intensive public process to address community curb appeal and maintenance concerns.  A property maintenance code created by the citizens will be well supported by the community.

 Policy 2: Support the creation of neighborhood associations that can foster self-enforcement of aesthetic and maintenance issues.

 Policy 3:  Support public/private partnerships that systematically remove unlivable units from Newton’s housing inventory utilizing various tools available to the community, both private and public in nature.

 Goal 2:  Encourage local development partnerships between the City, Development Professionals, Non-profit Organizations, and Financial Institutions.

 Rationale:  Development of single-family homes to large-scale multi-family developments always requires the involvement of a number of entities- City permitting officials, banks/lenders, architects, builders, etc.  Forward thinking communities make the connections between these groups before any development proposal is ever presented to the community.

 Policy 1: Support Newton Housing Development Corporation and other non-profit housing development entities.

 Policy 2:  The City, Development Professionals, Non-profits, and Financial Institutions should all utilize the same housing plan to ensure that everyone is working together and not inadvertently working against each other.  In December 2011, The Newton CHAT Repot: A Community Housing Assessment Team Study was completed and should be the guiding document for housing development for the near future.

 Goal 3:  Fill the gaps in particular niche housing.

 Rationale:  Newton competes with other Central Iowa communities in being a “community of choice”.  The gaps in niche housing- such as high-end town home/condo developments, student housing, housing with easy access to the interstate, and so on, pushes some to other nearby communities, such as Ankeny or Altoona.

Policy 1:  Promote the creation of rental housing units that can serve as student housing for the Des Moines Area Community College.  Near campus housing will foster further growth of the DMACC population and presence in the community, creating further stimulus in many sectors of Newton’s economy.

 Policy 2:  Develop a Planned Unit Development ordinance that will better accommodate creative housing projects while still meeting the density requirements of the underlying zones.  A Planned Unit Development ordinance would make it possible to consider housing projects that can offer various housing types while still performing in a similar manner to the underlying zone.

 Policy 3:  Develop a plan for downtown with housing as a key component and utilize historic preservation incentives to grow and enhance downtown housing options.

Goal 4:  Grow Newton’s Population.

 Rationale:  This is the ultimate goal for the community, and the provision of desirable housing is an important component in attracting people to the community.

 Policy 1:  Increase Newton’s population by using its assets and geography to attract regional residents.

 Policy 2:  Recognize the connection between growing employment opportunities and providing desired housing for those future employees.  Utilize existing employers as a resource to continually evaluate Newton’s housing stock and determine if there are gaps in the market.

Topic Team Meetings

Six small topic team discussions for the Comprehensive Plan Update will be held on the following dates and times:

Housing: Monday, February 20th, 5:00 pm

Sustainability: Tuesday, February 21st, 5:00 pm

Identity, Attitude, and Marketing: Thursday, February 23rd, 5:00 pm

Education: Monday, February 27th, 5:00 pm

Healthcare: Tuesday, February 28th, 5:00 pm

Economic Development: Thursday, March 1st, 5:00 pm

Citizens who expressed interest in these particular subjects at the Fall Community Input Meetings received email notifications, but any member of the public is welcome to attend.  All meetings will last approximately 1 hour and will be held at Newton Public Works Conference Room, 1700 N 4 Ave W.

Community Attitude Survey

Community Wide Survey to be Available in “Advertiser” Next Week

 

There is still opportunity for citizens to provide input in the “Newton’s Future” planning process.  Next week’s Jasper County Advertiser (the week of January 23rd) will include a 4-page Community Attitude Survey insert.   Citizens are asked to complete the survey and return it to any City office, the Newton Public Library, or drop boxes located at local grocery stores, banks, and the credit union.

In addition to the paper version, a link to take the survey on-line can be found at by clicking here: Community Attitude Survey.  

 The City of Newton is underway with a planning process to create a new Comprehensive Plan, which will serve as the guide for Newton’s future.  The City is seeking the ideas, and opinions of residents to guide the next decade and beyond.  Over 100 citizens attended public input forums in November and December, and the survey will provide another opportunity to share ideas for the future.

 A comprehensive plan covers topics such as economic development, housing, land use, education, natural resources, and much more.  It is a city’s official document that sets the path for decisions, strategies, and growth to move a community forward.

Note:  If the hyper-link for the survey did not work for you, copy and paste this website address into your web browser:  https://www.surveyshare.com/s/AQAS26B