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Comprehensive Plan
Developing the Plan

The City of Johnston has a vision far into the future.  Thank you for checking out our 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

The Johnston 2030 Comprehensive Plan consists of  ten chapters:

Comprehensive Plans, while establishing guidelines and vision for the community, are important as living and breathing documents that can be amended as necessary to reflect changes occurring in the community, provided such changes are accompanied by an appropriate level of review and public involvement.  To that end, on August 17, 2015 the Johnston City Council adopted the following criteria as guidelines to consider when amendments to the Johnston 2030 Comprehensive Land Use Map are proposed:

  1. Is there a demand in the community for the proposed use?
    • Current supply/demand, vacancy/occupancy rates, etc.
    • Short and long-term projections for the existing and proposed uses
  2. What benefits would be generated by the proposed use as compared to the existing use?  What negative impacts would be caused by the proposed use?
  3. What is the history of the property?  Are there impediments to marketing/developing the site pursuant to the existing use that are unique and distinguish the site from other properties in the community? Are there any factors or criteria unique to the site or area under study that would argue for or against the proposed use?
  4. Is there or can adequate land use transitions be provided between existing uses and the proposed use?  Can buffers and site design be incorporated to minimize the impact on neighboring property owners? What impact is there to existing development sight lines?
  5. What  are  the  impacts  and  is  there  capacity  on  the  property  and  within  the surrounding area to support the proposed use in the following areas:
    • Roadway network/traffic
    • Utilities (water, sewer, stormwater management)
    • Services and amenities (typically available to support the proposed use)
    • What are the property tax implications that would result from the proposed change?
6.  What impacts would the proposed use have on existing neighboring properties?  Would the proposed use have comparable impacts on neighboring properties as impact of a project that would be consistent with the current comprehensive plan?

7.  What impact will the the proposed use have on the balance of development mix in the community?  What is the land availability within the community for uses similar to the proposed and existing land use designations?

Merle Hay Road Gateway Redevelopment Area
A major component of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan is the Merle Hay Road Gateway Redevelopment Area.

The Gateway Area is on its way to becoming unlike any other area in the Des Moines metro. The Johnston City Council approved a redevelopment plan that is setting the stage for a dramatic transformation to the front door of the City.

Video On What Is Envisioned For The Merle Hay Road Gateway Redevelopment Area 

Kayak to your favorite restaurant. Pop in to a new hotel with an ecological theme. Make your home in a luxury rental property with access to natural amenities and trails. Spend time at a destination community park with unique elements that could include a skate park, BMX track, dog park and trailhead. These are all part of the vision for the Merle Hay Road Gateway Area.

The Gateway Area is 123 acres total and is defined as generally south of NW 55th Avenue along both sides of Merle Hay Road to Interstate 35/80. As one of only two gateways into the City from Interstate 35/80, this area is a recognizable and critical area of the City.

The master plan sees an opportunity to expand recreation and tourism with the addition of more canoe/kayak launches along Beaver Creek to provide more opportunities to get on the water. A planned outdoor recreation retailer could even use portions of the creek to test equipment and provide training and educational opportunities for those interested in water sports on the creek or nearby Saylorville Lake.

It will be a development that is truly a destination, either as a specialized retail destination, new hotel and conference center or a corporate office headquarters that would serve as a catalyst for transformation.

Johnston has the second highest median household income of metro cities at $89,543, exceeded only by Clive. During the recession, Johnston's median home values actually grew from $239,000 to $242,000. These are just two of the many reasons a new, vibrant development along Merle Hay Road will be sustainable for the long term.

The implementation plan recognizes the need for the City of Johnston to utilize financial incentives to begin and sustain improvements in the District, while specific incentives will be considered on a development by development basis, they could include a tax increment financing (TIF), tax abatement, a revolving loan fund, special service districts and other economic incentives.

During extensive research of the Gateway Area, AECOM conducted a preliminary market analysis which identified the market constraints and possibilities. Following input from many property owners and stakeholders, the City Council adopted the Redevelopment Plan on September 16, 2013.  Please click on the links below for more information on the plan.

Other Studies
Additional planning studies have been done that relate to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.