How the future U.S. 31 expressway will be developed is part of a study that will upgrade the Kokomo and Howard County comprehensive plans.

The Kokomo/Howard County Plan Commission will hire American Structurepoint to study future zoning and land use along the expressway route east of Kokomo.

Glen Boise, planning director, said the study will include the existing U.S. 31 bypass route and the four county roads leading to the interchanges on the expressway route.

Boise said the study should be completed before the first segment of the expressway opens and will take up to two years to complete.

The federal government is providing 80 percent of the estimated $95,000 cost through a Surface Transportation Planning grant. The remaining funds are coming from the Planning Department and the Kokomo/Howard County Governmental Coordinating Council.

Boise said local officials are working with the Indiana Department of Transportation on the awarding of the contract to American Structurepoint.

The idea of the study is to upgrade the land use and zoning regulations along the existing U.S. 31 bypass to keep it attractive in hopes of retaining businesses on the corridor.

Boise said the intent is to have American Structurepoint recommend land use along the expressway following a series of public hearings.

“We don’t want to do immediate zoning,” he said. “We want to control the development along the expressway. We are looking for commercial development.”

The hope is that warehouse operations and industrial development take place along the expressway, Boise said.

The study and recommendations will include interchanges at Boulevard, Markland Avenue (Ind. 22), Touby Pike and Ind. 26.

Boise said there will be limited retail establishments located at the four interchanges leading into Kokomo.

He said the existing businesses along the bypass will see very little change in the zoning.

“We are looking for recommendations on how to tighten up the standards to improve the look of both the existing U.S. 31 and the expressway,” Boise said.

He said traffic along the existing bypass will be motorists coming into Kokomo or local residents.

“Losing 10,000 cars per day on the bypass may not be noticeable,” Boise said.

Local officials intend to direct motorists looking for restaurants, shopping and motel rooms to utilize the existing businesses already along U.S. 31.

Ken de la Bastide can be reached at (765) 454-8580 or via e-mail at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com

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