Monroe CDO

Update – September 24, 2020

We are currently drafting Module 1 of the Monroe County Development Ordinance and anticipate having a draft for review by November 2020.

Planning staff has conducted public engagement outreach efforts for Module 1 that included a virtual kick-off meeting, a first round of focus group discussions, and the opportunity to join Plan Commission meetings where detailed project updates were provided.

We want to provide you with an update from the seven focus group meetings, consisting of 54 total participants (links to recorded meetings available by request). These focus groups were open to all county residence who were willing to share their knowledge and experience with the County’s existing Zoning Ordinance. These meetings gave us the opportunity to gather feedback from Monroe County residence regarding their perspective of the Monroe County Zoning Ordinance in terms of what is working and what is not.

See Focus Group Summaries for a summary by McBride Dale Clarion of how these 7 focus groups are directly impacting the content of the CDO moving forward.

There will be many more opportunities for engagement throughout the update process.

Looking ahead:

1. Module 2: Districts and uses. This will also include a draft of the Zoning Map – Winter 2020/2021
2. Module 3: Dimensional and Development Standards and Definitions – Spring 2021

If you want to see the more in-depth information regarding each module, see this status update to the Plan Commission.

Let us know if you have questions – we are available by email and by phone (812-349-2560)!

Update – August 14, 2020

Thank you to everyone that made it to our focus group meetings! If you would like to get involved, simply add your name to our list serve. The objective of these focus groups during Module 1 is to generate discussions across a variety of County residents in order to identify opportunities for the ordinance update.

We recorded all of the focus group meetings – if you would like to get a link to any of the meetings, please email us at and we would be happy to send that information to you. We had a lot of helpful discussions that will help inform the County Development Ordinance, and we are looking forward to more public engagement planned for the future!

As a reminder, we are in Module 1 (Procedures) of the County Development Ordinance. The Consultants are currently drafting Module 1 chapters and we will be making those available to the public. The estimated timeline for a first draft will be around November 2020. Stay tuned for more updates!

Focus Group Schedule and How to Attend

We are looking forward to hearing from you! We have setup several focus groups and hope that you are able to attend. The meeting schedule is listed below, along with the Zoom link information:

  • Friday July 17 at 8 AM – Affordable Housing/Neighborhood Development
  • Tuesday July 21st at 9:30AM -10:30 AM Engineering, Construction & Architecture
  • Tuesday July 21st at 3PM -4 PM Agricultural Provisions
  • Thursday, July 23rd at 9:30AM-10:30AM – Environmental Protections
  • Thursday July 23rd at 4PM-5PM Citizen Advisory
  • Friday July 24th at 2PM -3 PM Historic Preservation
  • Friday July 24th at 4 PM- 5 PM Economic Development

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 842 4466 9497
Password: 328391
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,84244669497# US (Germantown)
+13126266799,,84244669497# US (Chicago)

For those of you unable to make it to these meetings, we will record the focus groups and make those available on our website. Thank you!

Meeting to Discuss Module 1 of the CDO – July 21 at 5:30 PM

The Consultants for the CDO, McBride Dale Clarion, just released the Module 1 diagnosis memorandum for the public to review!  Module 1 includes the procedural chapters of the Zoning and Subdivision Control ordinances. Please join our next Plan Commission meeting on July 21, 2020 at 5:30 PM (held via Zoom) to learn more about the next steps for the CDO and to hear about the proposed changes that will be made to Module 1 of the ordinance.

The Planning Department is also seeking feedback from the public on Module 1 through focus groups, conversations, and questionnaires. Stay tuned for more information on how to stay updated. Sign up for our list serve to get the latest updates!

NOTE: Changes made to the ordinance are not in effect until official action is taken by the County Commissioners and the public is notified. Let us know if you have questions about this process 812-349-2560.

Virtual kick-off meeting – UPDATE from the May 27, 2020 Meeting

Thank you to those who made it to our first virtual kick-off meeting (Recording here: We had about 60 people in attendance on Zoom, with others tuned in to CATS TV. We are looking forward to proceeding with public engagement and drafting the first module of the Monroe County Development Ordinance. A few details from our engagement meeting are highlighted below.

We heard from many people in attendance and from the Plan Commission that we should create and utilize Focus Groups. Areas of interest included:

    • Affordable Housing/Neighborhood Development
    • Environmental Protections
    • Engineering/Surveyors/Realtors/Architect/Land Use Lawyers
    • Historic Preservation
    • Citizen Advisory (made up of County residents)
    • Economic Development
    • Agricultural Provisions

Please reply by email or respond to this survey if you would like to be a part of one of these groups.

We will organize zoom meetings and phone calls with focus groups to help inform different parts of the ordinance drafting. We will also develop online questionnaires to gather feedback from the public. These will be made available on our website and Facebook page.

Lastly, we talked about where we are in the drafting process. We are currently in Module 1. Here is what these modules look like, and what the estimated timeline of completion is:

    1. Module 1: Procedures/administration/subdivision rules and regulations – Fall 2020
    2. Module 2: Districts and uses. This will also include a draft of the Zoning Map – Winter 2020/2021*
    3. Module 3: Dimensional and Development Standards and Definitions – Spring 2021*

*Before moving on to the next module, the Monroe County Plan Commission will vote on whether to proceed given the current COVID-19 conditions. However, the ordinance and related zoning map will be subject to public comment and a public hearing throughout the process and will require legal notice to all County property owners following Module 3 and prior to the public hearing.

If you want to see the more in-depth information regarding each module, see this status update to the Plan Commission.

Let us know if you have questions – we are available by email and by phone (812-349-2560)!

Opportunity for Public Input – COVID-19 Precautions

The Planning Department can answer questions about the opportunities for County properties using the draft County Development Ordinance by phone (812)349-2560 or by email We are prioritizing public input and will be discussing how best to move forward in a way that is safe for the community as well as transparent. Call or email us!


The project is going to be kicked off on May 27, 2020. The CDO is broken into 3 modules that will be reviewed at the kick-off meeting. The modules are as follows***:

Module 1: Procedures, Administration, and Subdivision to comply with statutory requirements

Module 2: Zoning Districts and Uses

Module 3: Dimensional and Development Standards and Definitions

***The timeline for completing these modules are currently June 2021. This is subject to change. Stay tuned for more updates!

Sign up for Updates!

You can sign up for updates by adding your email to our list. Go to the Public Input page and click “Yes” on the box that says “Sign up for Updates.”

Monroe County is updating and rewriting both the Zoning Ordinance and the Subdivision Control Ordinance to create a County Development Ordinance or CDO . Be a part of it!

Please visit this site periodically as we continue to add content and information as this project gets underway.

Project Update Presentation

Stay tuned for updates!

About our Project

Monroe County adopted a county-wide 20-year Comprehensive Plan in February 2012, and subsequent amendments to the plan in the form of an Urbanizing Area Plan in 2015 and a Framework Zoning Plan and Code Diagnostic in December 2016. We are now implementing a strategy to rewrite the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance for consistency with these adopted Plans. The last complete rewriting of the zoning regulations was in 1997. The Zoning Ordinance has been amended in piecemeal fashion since that time. These regulations need to be reorganized, codified, and illustrated to explain the concepts of the regulations, while also implementing the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan.


Project Goals

  • Follow the vision, goals, and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan(s) and encourage economic, environmentally-friendly and socially sustainable development
  • Facilitate significant and meaningful public input during the process, including any workshops, open-houses or focus groups
  • Meet the County’s desire to direct future land uses to compatible areas
  • Amend the Zoning Map; creating new zoning districts that include the recommendations which are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and Urbanizing Area Plans
  • Provide commonly used definitions and a user-friendly set of guidelines in clear, simple language or in illustrated language. Ensure language is clearly stated to avoid, whenever possible, disputes of interpretations
  • Update the Ordinances so that they are more responsive to contemporary development trends, recognize diverse physical characteristics of Monroe County, and encourage quality development
  • Update the Ordinances so that they are current with all local, state and federal statutes and are consistent with recent case law and constitutional determinations
  • Develop new Zoning Districts, Land Use concepts, Development Standards, and form-based code recommendations consistent with those concepts set forth in the Urbanizing Area Plan Framework and Comprehensive Plan
  • Clearly establish criteria for conditional land use and variance consideration/approval
  • Establish clear procedures for zoning related applications and identify opportunities for process simplification and flexibility consistent with identified community goals and proposed objectives
  • Reduce and/or streamline the caseloads of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and County staff, by crafting regulations that require fewer requests for variances, conditional use permits and rezoning cases
  • A reorganized code available to the general public on-line at the County’s web site, in an “easy access, easy look-up” format with electronic query capability, by search terms and by process type, that allows for future amendments to be easily incorporated into the on-line presentation format