Planning Commission seeks to balance interests

The Hillsboro Community Planning and Development Commission helps decide what can be built and where.

It is the commission?s responsibility to plan and oversee development of the city.

The commission members hope to be proactive rather than reactive in its planning. One way they can do this is through their comprehensive plan, which they wrote four or five years ago and review and update each year.

The plan tells the commission what general development they want to accomplish in the city.

?The plan is a dream we see,? said Gaylord Goertzen, commission chair. ?The people who own land have to decide to develop it.?

He said they plan for the future the best they can and then modify the plan to meet reality, but they don?t let reality stifle the growth of the city.

The commission?s development responsibilities include approving plat?s and zoning changes.

Goertzen said new developments, such as for housing, must be brought to them. They commission members look at the preliminary plat and approve zoning changes. They also look at the site plan for the area to be developed.

The commission has overseen the projects at Carriage Hills, Prairie Point, Hillsboro Heights and Willow Glen.

?It?s a balancing act,? Goertzen said. ?We don?t want to tell people what to do with their property, but we don?t want it to harm those around them.?

The commission?s recommendations then go to the city for final approval. ?We want the best for our community,? Goertzen said. ?Hillsboro is very progressive and we work hard to keep it that way.?

To help interpret the legal responsibilities involved in the projects, the commission looks to Eric Strauss, consultant.

The commission also looks to the public for ideas and tries to incorporate those ideas if it is appropriate.

Goertzen said they want a climate that attracts businesses and industries, but they also want to make sure those enterprises are right for the city.

Recently, the commission worked to encourage officials to build the new post office in a central location closer to downtown.

They also just finished determining the comprehensive plan is up-to-date. ?Our goal is the orderly development of our community,? Goertzen said.

The commission meets on the last Thursday of each month if it has any business. The budget for the commission comes from the city and is used to cover consulting fees and printing fees.

Commission members are Goertzen, Kenneth Ollenburger, Craig Roble, Judy Klein, Lowell Goering, Lynn Penner, Krista Heinrichs, Ray Franz and Virginia Martens.

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