Community

Louisville residents are getting a chance this week to weigh in on the city’s next comprehensive plan.

Public meetings are set for Wednesday and Thursday to allow for input on issues related to neighborhood character and access to housing for the next two decades.

The open work groups are a key element to crafting the city’s next long-range guiding plan.

“It’s where a lot of the grunt of the work will be done,” said Will Ford, a spokesman for Develop Louisville.

Comprehensive plans guide development in the city and their adoption is required by state law. The city’s current plan was adopted in 2000 and expires in 2020. The next plan will guide development through 2040.

The work groups are open to the public and designed to allow residents and city officials to partner and examine best practices of similar cities with the focus on updating existing policies regarding mobility, health, sustainability, preservation and equity, according to a city report.

A final plan is expected to be adopted by July 2018, according to the group’s report.

“We will take a deliberate approach with this update and hear as many voices as possible,” said Deborah Bilitski, director of Develop Louisville, the city department heading the planning process.

The plan’s development process will center on projections of how Louisville will change during the next two decades.

Researchers at the University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute and Kentucky State Data Center compiled a near 270-page report indicating just how the city is expected to change in this time.

The report shows the city’s population is expected to increase by about 131,000 people, or 18 percent, in the next two decades. The biggest population increases are expected to come in areas outside the Watterson Expressway and inside the Gene Snyder Freeway, per the report.

Manufacturing and construction jobs are expected to drop during the coming decades, while warehousing, education and healthcare jobs are expected to increase.

Other projections include a near 180 percent increase in vehicle traffic, 12,000 acres of new housing, three million square feet of new office space, and continued deterioration of air quality and heightened demands for energy and water use.

This week’s meeting on community form — which includes policies that address the character and diversity of Louisville’s neighborhoods — is set for November 16 at 6 p.m. at Hotel Louisville at 120 West Broadway.

The meeting on the city’s future of housing access will begin at 6 p.m. on November 17 at the Edison Center at 701 West Ormsby Avenue.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.