Westfield’s economic development on the rise

This map shows development taking place in Westfield in various stages – active development with dirt turning or about to begin, short-term development with active filings and long-term development with businesses “kicking the tires.” (Submitted map)

This map shows development taking place in Westfield in various stages – active development with dirt turning or about to begin, short-term development with active filings and long-term development with businesses “kicking the tires.” (Submitted map)

Westfield is trending upward in a number of key economic development areas according to a year in review report delivered to the city council on Jan. 26.

Westfield Economic Development Director Matt Skelton said the year started off rocky when offices, storage rooms and files were damaged by water, but the department was “able to make lemonade out of lemons” as the water leak led to a project where building permits and plan commission files were scanned.

“We can do work faster and more efficiently and it helps us better serve the public,” Skelton said.

The project also led to the repaired file storage room to be converted to a collaborative meeting room.

Some of the major achievements in 2014 include replacing 1977’s zoning ordinance, which Skelton said is “uniquely, user-friendly and interactive.”

“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before,” he said.

The Grand Junction Implementation Plan and Spring Mill Station were other initiatives passed last year.

“It (Spring Mill Station) is a major accomplishment for the department and community as a whole,” Skelton said. “The community came up with their vision and what they’d like to see in their neighborhood.”

By the Numbers

● Skelton said there was a 200 percent increase in plan commission filings from 2013 (73 filings) to 2014 (146 filings).

● There were 451 single-family permits in 2014 – an increase from 399 in 2013 and 300 in 2012. Westfield also had 366 single-family starts by October 2014, which equates to a 3.07 percent growth per capita. In comparison, Noblesville had 1.6 percent growth (323 single family starts), Fishers had 1.56 percent growth (458 starts) and Carmel had 0.75 percent growth (230 starts).

● The value in vertical improvements is estimated at $176 million, an increase of $69 million from two years ago.

● The six major areas of building permits are evenly spread out across the city and include Spring Orchard, Water’s Edge, Maple Knoll, Oak Manor, Viking Meadows and Bridgewater.