Land Use – Publications

Purdue Extension releases Indiana renewable energy survey results

April 5, 2022 WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Indiana communities are facing complex land-use planning decisions, specifically in regards to renewable energy. To assist communities, Purdue Extension, through support from Hoosiers for Renewables and Indiana Farm Bureau, released a comprehensive study on land-use regulations for wind and solar renewable energy along with county snapshots. “Hoosiers for Renewables is pleased with the effort made by Purdue on this important topic and we look forward to additional studies that will help decision makers and the general public develop a better understanding of the opportunities that exist with renewable energy in Indiana,” said Steve Eberly, executive director of Hoosiers for Renewables. In 2021, Purdue Extension’s Land Use Team conducted a comprehensive overview study of land-use regulations for wind and solar energy. The team identified a state-wide need for research-based information focused on the intersection of renewable energy, land-use decision making and ordinance development. “We hear from our members consistently that they need resources they can look to for ideas as they consider wind and solar projects or ordinances in their communities. We believe this can serve that educational purpose while maintaining local decision-making,” added Jeff Cummins, Indiana Farm Bureau associate director of policy engagement. The study examined commercial solar and wind development and zoning ordinances for unincorporated areas. Of the 82 counties with planning and zoning, 56 percent had county zoning ordinances with standards specific to commercial solar energy systems and 62 percent with standards for commercial wind energy conversion systems. Eight counties do not permit commercial wind in any zoning districts. Ordinances were found to vary in the tools used to regulate renewable energy and define commercial solar and wind as uses. “The complexity of communities across the state plus increased interest in renewable energy due to utility plans are causing various community responses. Through this report, Purdue Extension is proud to provide research-based information that can help communities navigate renewable energy and future development efforts,” said Tamara Ogle, community development regional educator for Purdue Extension and member of the Land Use Team. The complete report and individual county snapshots are found online. The Purdue Extension Land Use Team provides research-based resources and educational programs for Extension professionals, government officials, citizen planners and residents on land use issues affecting their communities. PHOTO: Purdue Extension, through support from Hoosiers for Renewables and Indiana Farm Bureau, released a comprehensive study on land-use regulations for wind and solar renewable energy along with county snapshots. (Photo by Tom Campbell) Writer: Abby Leeds, 765-494-7817, Sources: Kara Salazar, Tamara Ogle, About Hoosiers for Renewables Hoosiers for Renewables is a grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about the benefits of local, affordable and clean renewable energy and the positive impact of embracing renewable energy development in Indiana. Hoosiers for Renewables believe Indiana’s economy, especially our rural communities, will grow when there is a mix of energy sources. The organization works to advocate, educate, and celebrate renewable energy and its benefits to communities, its farmers, and residents.  For further information about Hoosiers for Renewables, contact Dave Arland, Arland Communications. 317-201-0084 or by email at About Indiana Farm Bureau Indiana Farm Bureau promotes agriculture through public education, member engagement, and by advocating for agricultural and rural needs. About Purdue Extension Purdue Extension provides relevant, high-impact educational programs that transform the lives and livelihoods of individuals and communities in Indiana and the world.

One Water Approach to Water Resources Management (ID-525-W) – Leslie Dorworth, Melissa Widhalm, Kara Salazar

Climate change is spotlighting the importance of managing water resources. Building on previous work (ID-524-W, ID-520-W, ID-519-W), in this publication the authors discuss how the One Water approach can benefit urban communities.  

Climate Change and Sustainable Development (ID-524-W) – Melissa Widhalm, Kara Salazar, Leslie Dorworth

Energy-intensive development practices contribute to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which are leading to shifting climate patterns. This publication builds on two previous publications - ID-519-W, Climate Change: Communication strategies to support local planning; and ID-520-W, Climate Change: Are you preparing for it?

Are you preparing for it? (ID-520-W) – Melissa Widhalm, Kara Salazar, Leslie Dorworth

This publication provides an overview of how changing climate conditions will affect Indiana and the Midwest and offers sensible strategies for coping with these changes. Understanding past and future environmental changes can help regional policymakers more effectively support local and regional planning efforts.

Communication strategies to support local planning (ID-519-W) – Melissa Widhalm, Leslie Dorworth, Kara Salazar

Despite strong evidence that climate change is happening, many people do not realize the urgency with which we need to act, nor do they fully understand the types of impacts facing their communities. This publication provides some basic, but proven, strategies to help local officials more effectively communicate with the public about climate change.

The Comprehensive Plan (ID-234-W) – Indraneel Kumar, Val Slack

A community needs a comprehensive plan to serve as the compass for its future course. However, the ability and will to prepare and implement the plan is also critical. This publication describes the “why, what, and how” of a comprehensive plan and focuses on the process and the contents.

A Planning & Zoning Glossary (ID-228-W) – Indraneel Kumar

Confused about plans, districts, zones, codes, and more? Knowing and using a common vocabulary of planning and zoning terms will help you understand planning and zoning issues and communicate in a better way. This article describes the ABCs of Planning and Zoning. The various common terms used in planning are defined with examples of how and when they are used.

Welcome to the Plan Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals (ID-511-W) – Jeff Burbrink

Are you new to the local Plan Commission or the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA)? This article give an introduction to plan commissions and BZAs, the roles and responsibilities of both the groups and their individual members, what to expect at meetings, and where to go for further information.

Assessing Your Comprehensive Plan (ID-227-W) – Dan Walker

A comprehensive plan helps communities identify their shared goals and guides development policies that allow the community to reach those goals. It is the responsibility of a plan commission to develop the comprehensive plan, incorporating input from a wide range of stakeholders. This article describes the comprehensive plan, how it's created and when to make revisions to that plan. ​