STATEHOUSE (Sept. 11, 2023) – The Land Use Task Force held its first meeting at the Statehouse Friday to examine how large and small communities can continue to grow while protecting prime farmland, according to State Rep. Tim O’Brien (R-Evansville).
O’Brien said the 13-member task force, on which he serves, focused on economic and demographic factors that developers consider in siting projects.
“A focus of the task force is to balance economic development and population growth with preserving prime agricultural land,” O’Brien said. “We want to implement policy solutions that will benefit communities across the state by utilizing land efficiently and to the greatest benefit to its citizens.”
Participants included representatives from the Indiana Builders Association, Indiana Association of Realtors, the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Indiana Economic Development Association, Indiana Broadband Office and American Structurepoint.
A new law supported by O’Brien established the Land Use Task Force to take a deep dive into growth trends in rural, urban and suburban communities, as well as how they can better position themselves to attract economic development and protect prime farmland. O’Brien also supported a new law that directs the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to conduct an inventory of all the farmland lost in the state between 2010 and 2022, and identify the cause of the losses. O’Brien said the task force will utilize this data to inform public policy in the future.
The Land Use Task Force is scheduled to host its second meeting at 9 a.m. on Oct. 2 in the Senate Chamber. The task force’s findings and any policy recommendations will be reported to the Indiana General Assembly, which could take further action.