Wells County

Area plan commission

AREA PLAN COMMISSION
223 W Washington St
Room 211
Bluffton, IN 46714
Mon-Fri: 8AM-4:30PM
(260) 824-6407
(260) 824-6415
WCAPC@wellscounty.org
Michael Lautzenheiser Jr., AICP, CFMExecutive Director

Area Plan Director
GIS Manager
Floodplain Administrator

Michael W. Lautzenheiser Jr. has worked for the Wells County Area Plan Commission since May 5, 2006. He graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Design. In college, he worked with multiple local governments assisting them with community planning as well as receiving training overseas.

Michael has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since March 2010. Michael will be pursuing continuing education to maintain this certification in the fields of planning law, planning ethics, and urban and rural planning practice and theory.  http://www.planning.org/aicp/

Michael has been a member of the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFMP) since March 2015.  Michael will be pursuing continuing education to main this certification in the fields of floodplain management, flood insurance, and flood hazard mitigation.  http://www.floods.org/

Michael also has received significant formal training in Global Information Systems (GIS) from Ball State University.

Michael currently is the President of the Bluffton NOW! They are the main street organization for Bluffton, Indiana, and represents them on the Chamber of Commerce board and Wells County Revitalization board.

Michael currently is an active member of the Northeast Indiana Geographic Information Consortium (NIGIC)

Michael currently is a northern region representative for the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Suzie GentisAdministrative Assistant
Tracey UlmerPart-Time Clerical
News

Click Here to review the copy of the Wells County Vision 2035 Comprehensive Plan as approved by the Wells County Area Plan Commission on September 1, 2022.  The Vision 2035 plan will be submitted for adoption to the participating local legislative bodies based on the following calendar.

City of Bluffton - Common Council - October 4, 2022 @ 6 PM
Town of Ossian - Town Council - October 10, 2022 @ 7 PM
Town of Poneto - Town Council - October 10, 2022 @ 7 PM
Town of Uniondale - Town Council - October 11, 2022 @ 5 PM
Town of Zanesville - Town Council - October 18, 2022 @ 6:30 PM
Town of Vera Cruz - Town Council - October 18, 2022 @ 6:30 PM

Click Here to see the results of the Quality of Life Project survey!

Click Here to see the results of the Wells County Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Public Survey!

Click Here to see the Wells County Vision 2020 Public Survey Results

2021 Annual Report

2022 Plan of Operations

Wells County Area Planning Commission

The Area Plan Commission has public hearings on text amendments to the Subdivision Control and the Zoning Ordinance, map amendments (rezones), development plan reviews and major subdivision approvals. It acts as the legislative side of the Area Plan office.

Wells County Board of Zoning Appeals

The Board of Zoning Appeals has public hearings on variances, special exceptions, non-conforming uses and structures, and administrative appeals. It acts as the judicial side of the Area Plan office.

Wells County Plat Committee

The Wells County Plat Committee holds hearing on Ponds, Minor Subdivisions, Additions, and Combines.  It acts as a committee to the Plan Commission.

Wells County Area Plan Commission Office

The Plan Commission Office has five (5) main functions.

1. Organize, maintain, and prepare the records of the Wells County Area Plan Commission, Wells County Plat Committee, and Wells County Board of Zoning Appeals.  The records include petition forms, plats, meeting minutes, and other documents used by the boards.

2. Prepare and maintain the budget approved by the Wells County Area Plan Commission and Wells County Council for each year.

3. Accept and review petition filings for the Wells County Area Plan Commission, Wells County Plat Committee, and Wells County Board of Zoning Appeals.  We work to assist the boards and the petitioners with the workings of the requirements of the Wells County Zoning Ordinance and Wells County Subdivision Control Ordinance.

4. Issue improvement location permits for new construction as directed by the Wells County Zoning Ordinance and Wells County Subdivision Control Ordinance.

5. Enforce the regulations set forth by the Wells County Zoning Ordinance and Wells County Subdivision Control Ordinance.  Any petition or permit granted through the Wells County Area Plan Commission Office is subject to at least one site inspection before it will be approved.

The Wells County Area Plan Commission is also responsible for administering the floodplain ordinance adopted from the State of Indiana. The official maps are in the office and designate all lands with either 100 or 500-year flood or no special flood hazard area.

Planning and zoning is offered as a service to the community to help preserve property values and to locate compatible land uses in the same vicinity. Also, the distribution of zoning districts is typically based on densities. Where there are non-compatible land uses that abut each other, we try to screen or buffer the two conflicting uses.

Current Board Members

Area Plan Commission Board Members
Board of Zoning Appeals Board Members
*Board of Zoning Appeals Members may NOT  be contacted prior to a Board of Zoning Appeals Public Hearing on any matter.
Plat Committee Members

Plans, Studies & Surveys
Approved Budget
Forms and Applications

Click here to go to our forms and applications for permits, Area Plan Commission petitions, Board of Zoning Appeals petitions, and Plat Committee petitions.

Click here to see our PROCESS MAP for petitions that require development plan approvals.

Ordinance

Zoning Ordinance Effective November 9, 2022. (Area Plan Commission Board Member Establishing Ordinance, Wells County Zoning Ordinance, Wells County Subdivision Control Ordinance, and Wells County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance)
Markle Flood Hazard Ordinance (MFHO). Effective October 16, 2014.
Wells County Area Plan Commission Fee Schedule

Online Permitting

STEP #1
Wells County Improvement Location Permit
For all of Wells County, including City of Bluffton.

STEP #2 (If Within City of Bluffton)
City of Bluffton Building Permits
For only the City of Bluffton.

Rules of Procedure
Comprehensive Plan

Current Plan and Proposed Land-use Maps
2014-2024  (Appendix)

Historic Plans
1993-2013
1970-1992

Zoning Map

Zoning maps are available on the Wells County GIS website.  www.wellscountygis.org

Flood Zone Corner

* Floodplain map information is available to the public at www.welllscountygis.org or upon request at our office.
* The Wells County Ordinance for Flood Hazard Areas is available at https://wellscounty.org/area-planning-commission/

Historic Wells County Wabash River Flood Data

View the presentation for the Floodplain How to Guide Class

Current River, Lake and Precipitation Status

NOAA Flood Gauges 

USGS Water Watch Flood Gauges

Army Corp of Engineers Lake Reports

Local Precipitation Reports 

From the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)

National Weather Service – 24hr Precipitation Map

Helpfull Websites

Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Website 

Floodsmart.gov the official website of the National Flood Insurance Program 

Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Water’s Website 

Indiana Department of Homeland Security Website

Indiana Floodplain Information Portal 

Important Documents

New Floodplain Map Brochure

Poster – General Floodplain Development Guidelines 

Official Publications

Above the Flood: Elvating Your Floodprone House, FEMA-347(2000) fema347_complete

Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program, F-084 (2011)

Elvated Residential Structures, FEMA-54 (1984) 

Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards, FEMA P-85 (2009) 

Protecting Building Utilities From Flood Damage, FEMA P-348 (1999)

Protecting Floodplain Resources, FEMA-268 (1996)

Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding, FEMA 511 (2005) 

Local Flood Proofing Programs 360 (2005) 

Increased Cost of Compliance Fact Sheet

Meeting Minutes

Area Plan Commission
January 6, 2022
February 3, 2022 – No Meeting
March 3, 2022
April 7, 2022
May 6, 2022
June 2, 2022
July 7, 2022
August 4, 2022
September 1, 2022
October 6, 2022
November 3, 2022
December 1, 2022

Board of Zoning Appeals
January 25, 2022 – No Meeting
February 22, 2022 – No Meeting
March 22, 2022
April 26, 2022
May 24, 2022
June 28, 2022
July 26, 2022
August 23, 2022
September 27, 2022
October 25, 2022
November 22, 2022
December 27, 2022

Plat Committee
Please contact the Area Plan Office for copies.

Area Plan Commission
January 7, 2021
February 4, 2021
March 4, 2021
April 1, 2021
May 6, 2021
June 3, 2021
July 1, 2021
August 5, 2021 – No Meeting
September 9, 2021 (2nd Thursday due to a conference)
October 7, 2021 – No Meeting
November 4, 2021
December 2, 2021

Board of Zoning Appeals
January 26, 2021
February 23, 2021 – No Meeting
March 30, 2021
April 27, 2021
May 25, 2021 – No Meeting
June 22, 2021
July 27, 2021 – No Meeting
August 24, 2021
September 8, 2021 (Special Meeting)
September 28, 2021
October 26, 2021
November 23, 2021 – No Meeting
December 28, 2021

Plat Committee
Please contact the Area Plan Office for copies.

Area Plan Commission
January 2, 2020
February 6, 2020
March 5, 2020
April 23, 2020
May 7, 2020
May 27, 2020
June 16, 2020
August 6, 2020
September 10, 2020 (2nd Thursday due to a conference)
October 1, 2020
November 5, 2020
December 3, 2020

Board of Zoning Appeals
January 28, 2020 – No Meeting
February 25, 2020
March 24, 2020 – No Meeting
May 12, 2020
May 26, 2020 – No Meeting
June 23, 2020
July 28, 2020 – No Meeting
August 25, 2020
September 15, 2020 (3rd Tuesday due to Street Fair) – No Meeting
October 27, 2020
November 24, 2020
December 22, 2020 – No Meeting

Plat Committee
Please contact the Area Plan Office for copies.

F.A.Q.'s

We accept cash, personal checks, certified checks, money orders, and Credit/Debit Cards.  If using a check, please make it payable to: Wells County APC.

Homes, commercial structures, industrial structures, public structures, towers, wind turbines, signs, decks, porches, sheds, barns, silos, grain bins, detached garages, above or below ground pools, dog kennels, pavilions, gazebos, the addition to any of these, and any other similar structures.

Reroof, Reside, Paint, Interior Remodel, sidewalk, driveway, fences*, parking lot*, temporary structure*, temporary sign*, or any similar repair, or remodeling.

* Additional approvals may be required please call the Area Plan Commission Office for More Details 

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