The City of Lebanon began the process of creating a new comprehensive plan in early 2018. The plan, which serves to outline a vision and strategic framework for future development, redevelopment, and community building projects within the City, was last fully updated in 2007.

Much has changed in Lebanon since that time, and it is critical that the comprehensive plan respond to these changes, reflect current conditions, and most importantly, be representative of the vision and goals of current residents and businesses.

Indiana state law identifies requirements that need to be incorporated into a comprehensive plan (Indiana Code 36-7-4-502). A comprehensive plan must contain at least the following elements:

  • A statement of objectives for the future development of the jurisdiction.
  • A statement of policy for the land use development of the jurisdiction.
  • A statement of policy for the development of public ways, public places, public lands, public structures, and public utilities.

Beyond those minimum requirements, the overall purpose of the updated comprehensive plan for the City of Lebanon is to:

  • Embody and promote the future vision for the City as developed by citizens and community leaders throughout the planning process.
  • Create action-oriented recommendations to help guide land use and development decisions.
  • Ensure the City remains competitive from a business retention and attraction standpoint while also maintaining the high quality of life for Lebanon’s residents.
  • Incorporate the recommendations and results from the many other recent planning initiatives.
  • Include a diverse spectrum of residents, businesses, and local leaders in shaping the vision, goals, and policy frameworks within the plan.


How the Comprehensive Plan Will be Used

A comprehensive plan is a document with a long-range view, that serves as a guide for making land use decisions, preparing capital improvement programs, and determining the rate, timing, and location of future growth. It establishes a vision, goals, and objectives that direct investment and development activity within the City of Lebanon. This then provides the policy basis for zoning regulations and other construction and development controls. The comprehensive plan examines the inter-relationships between land use, transportation, utilities, and the local economy.

City staff, the Plan Commission, and City Council should interpret the goals and objectives as a long-term reflection of the community’s values. The spirit of this plan should be remembered when reviewing development and policy proposals to ensure that the community’s vision is realized. The strategic recommendations are intended to direct the day-to-day decisions concerning more specific and task-oriented activities. Interpreting the plan in this way will enable the members of both the Commission and Council to justify approval, or denial, of any proposed development or redevelopment projects or policy initiatives brought forth for the City.

When a new annexation, rezone, planned unit development (PUD), subdivision, or site plan review request is filed with the Planning Department, the planning staff, as well as other city departments, should review and evaluate the application against the Lebanon Comprehensive Plan and the City’s other ordinances and provide a staff report with a formal recommendation to the Plan Commission regarding its findings. The staff report should include an evaluation of the development and the degree to which the proposed project conforms to the plan’s goals, objectives, recommendations, and future framework maps.

The comprehensive plan is not an ordinance and does not contain the actual decisions that should be made. It is, however, a policy document that will help guide decision-making related to land use, growth, public investments, and economic development. It serves as a reminder of the community’s collective vision for the future growth and development of the area and should be interpreted as such.


Planning Area

The City of Lebanon has the power to make planning and zoning decisions only within its municipal boundaries. However, to ensure compatibility of future growth and land use changes, an area larger than the current City boundaries was addressed with this process. The planning area includes all of Lebanon as well as the remainder of Center Township. This is not an official extra-territorial planning jurisdiction as recognized by state law, but this area will have an effect on the City’s future tax base and utility service area should the municipal boundaries grow. By including this additional area in the comprehensive plan process, the plan can be used to provide guidance as properties may be annexed and Lebanon zoning districts applied to them.



Planning is a continuous process that had been initiated prior to this plan and will continue after its adoption. This new Comprehensive Plan is the result of a detailed process that brought residents and stakeholders together to identify existing conditions throughout the City, recognize potential trends, and ultimately create recommendations for the future. Plan recommendations and this website were developed over fifteen months with oversight from a project steering committee which included the Mayor of Lebanon, representatives from the Plan Commission and Redevelopment Commission, City staff, and other community leaders. The community leaders represented various non-profit organizations and private businesses; they were included because their respective expertise and experience in various backgrounds could provide benefit to the process. The committee met six times; these meetings were interactive work sessions and resulted in the overall input needed to develop the plan.

In addition to the regularly held steering committee meetings, a series of focus group discussions was held early in the process to gather input from key stakeholders and organizations. The goal of the focus group discussions was to assess the issues each group faces and understand what they hoped to achieve through comprehensive planning process.

Leaders and industry experts in each of the following categories were invited to participate:

  • City staff, boards, and commissions
  • Business leaders and employers
  • Developers, builders, and real estate professionals
  • Community institutions, non-profits, and service organizations
  • Neighborhood leaders and residents
  • Youth and young professionals
  • Transportation organizations and utility providers

Two community open houses were held to solicit input and discuss opportunities, issues, goals and recommendations for the plan. The first meeting was held early in the process on July 31, 2018 at Lebanon High School. Open house participants were able to voice their opinions, interests, and concerns about the current conditions and future vision for the community. A brief presentation about the plan process and background was given before attendees participated in several feedback exercises.  The second community open house took place on February 12, 2019; it was also held at Lebanon High School.  A number of stations were organized around the plan topics. City officials and the planning consultants staffed these stations and were on hand to answer questions and provide additional in-sight. Participants were asked to confirm and prioritize plan recommendations.  The key initiatives were also presented with a slideshow.

In addition to in-person input opportunities, a project website was maintained throughout the process.  This website included background information, meeting materials, and a frequently asked questions section.  It also hosted a number of community survey questions over a period of several months.  Several of the survey questions received more than 500 responses. Complete survey results can be found in the Maps & Documents section.

The plan process was broken into four major components:

  • Existing Conditions Analysis
  • Vision & Components Framework
  • Implementation Plan
  • Final Website & Adoption

The existing conditions analysis phase looked both objectively and subjectively at the issues and challenges facing the City. Issues and opportunities were discussed with the project steering committee, at the first public open house, and during the focus group discussions. A Community Profile was prepared, highlighting demographic, housing, and retail market conditions. The existing conditions information is included in the Maps & Documents section.

The vision and components framework included the creation of the plan vision statement and associated framework topics. The vision and goals served as the structure for the remainder of the plan process. Each framework goal statement is supported by a number of objectives, many of which were generated during public engagement while others incorporate best practices demonstrated in other communities. After the objectives were refined and prioritized by the steering committee, a list of key initiatives was created. These 18 key initiatives represent the overlap and interaction of many of the most important objectives in terms of policies, programs, and development goals of the community.

The implementation plan involved identifying the relative priority of each objective. These priority timeframes can be used to aid in decision making and implementation. After translating the many plan recommendations into the website format, the plan was presented to the Plan Commission and City Council as part of the adoption process. The Plan Commission held a public hearing and approved and certified the plan on December 16, 2019. The City Council adopted the plan on January 13, 2020, after which it became the official comprehensive plan for the City of Lebanon.

How this Website is Organized

In addition to this introductory section, the comprehensive plan website is organized around the six plan elements:

  • Housing & Neighborhoods
  • Land Use & Development Character
  • Transportation & Utilities
  • Downtown
  • Quality of Life
  • Economic Development

Each plan element includes a goal statement, summary map, and series of supporting objectives.  The plan elements page can be accessed via the website header or at the bottom of the landing page. Once at one of the specific element pages, the goal statement is listed under the element heading. This list of objectives can then be found below the goal. Additional description and information about each objective can be found by clicking the objective text itself or the arrow to the right. Finally, the element map can be found at the bottom of the page. Specific to the Land Use & Development Character element, a link to the Future Land Use Classifications can be found in the website footer bar under the Resources heading.

The six plan elements are supported by 18 key initiatives. Because many of the key initiatives are applicable to or support several plan elements, they have been organized on their own page. There is a “Read More” button to the right of each key initiative statement that will take you to another page that includes a summary of the initiative, expected outcomes, both short and long-term actions needed for implementation, and the organizations, departments, or other implementers that will be needed for success.

The Implementation page, also accessed from the website header bar, details how to use and update the plan when needed. Also included is a summary of early action items that represent the immediate next steps necessary to realize the vision of the Lebanon Redefined Comprehensive Plan. Finally, the Maps and Documents page houses the six plan element maps as well as supporting documentation developed during the planning process. The drop-down menu on the left-side of the page can be used to view the different maps.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) and News pages will be developed as plan implementation progresses. They are not technically components of the comprehensive plan but have been included to share information and make the plan more user-friendly. To the right of the News link on the header bar is a magnifying glass. Clicking this icon will open a drop-down search form. Additionally, contact information and links to the City website and Planning Department page are included in the footer bar.