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Thread: actually creating a plan.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    actually creating a plan.

    In my young career, I've had plenty of opportunity to administer or implement plans, but never to create a plan (from absolute scratch). Lend me your wisdom, oh Throbbing BrainTM. What process is a *general* process that you have used to create a plan. Any successesful formats for public input? Any other thoughts on traps that I could/will walk into along the way?

    Of course, the senior planners in my department have the process they've followed and are willing to guide me along the way, but I'm looking for other insight.

    I am/have been a "current" planner (site plan review, commissions, etc) up to this point. Now, I'm getting the opportunity to truely plan.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    First of all, congratulations!

    I'd start off with a benchmarking session. Review the old plan in a public meeting. What has been implemented since then? What has changed? What would the public like to keep or eliminate?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    Im fortunate to be involved in the preparation of a new plan. Its a huge extension to the already large city where I live in.

    Heres the brief:

    Proposed Area of new city of about 180 sq miles
    Proposed Population: Around 2.5 million
    Major Projects within the city:A huge International airport, Large IT parks, LArge instituions( and a rumoured F1 track in the future).
    and the scope of work goes on and on.
    Time given to prepare the plan: 12 months.
    Type of project: Totally Greenfield

    Since the time given was less, we immediately went in for the latest satellite data( we have good indigenous satellites of our own) and overlaid it with revenue parcel layer( ownership data/maps) and the natural features from existing Survey of India Maps( something like USGS maybe).
    This way we had a fairly good base to draw up the proposals.
    Then with large scale ground surveys, secondary socio-economic data collection and analysis and a clear concept we drew up the plan..

    Mostly a Structure Plan Approach with flexible land uses and a broad but very strict zoning regulation. Emphasis more on the implementation and enforcement.( this plan is 'Implemetable' )
    The focus is on keeping the plan as 'Development Friendly' as possible. Market Approach and many other terms are also being used for the plan.

    Public Notification and Objections suggestions have been taken from the and we are finalising the proposals so that the state government can notify the final plan.

    The plan went through two major reviews/changes and now it about fifteen months since I have been working with the government planners( Im on the dark side you see :-} )
    Thanks to hte satellite data and hte digital approach we took we could somehow stick to the deadline and deliver the goods.
    Now I am in process of computerising the records and also operationalising the digitalisation of all approval process etc etc.
    My contract seems to be endless right now.

    But its exciting to be involved in a new plan process. Such projects happen in maybe thirty of fifty years or so or maybe never. Guess I was there at the right time. Right when the new city was born I was standing right at the hospital gates. Its like the feeling you get when you hit that penguin at the right time and see it careening out of the screen in a huge trajectory into a long trajectory.
    Exhilaration is another feeling. Pressure, responsibility, ethics, environemental safety, density and so many other words I can describe. But its not possible.
    Thanks to the experienced government planners( i'm too young to do this say many others who of course couldnt be a part of this), theres very few loopholes in the plan and the zoning regulations. Its really a team effort.

    I think I can write a book( or atleast a booklet)
    Thanks to cyburbia I am able to share it with like minded people/professionals.
    "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them".
    -Isaac Asimov

  4. #4
    I would try to form a good Plan Commission sub-committee to bounce ideas off of. Try to get a diverse group of individuals from different areas of the community, different ages, and different professions. I have been involved with the creation of a new plan and we had lawyers, real estate professionals, environmentalists, regular citizens, etc. However this committee should be more of a sounding board than a board to review every little detail that goes into the plan.

    Some other ideas:
    -Visual preference survey or some other land use/ visioning survey
    -Neighborhood visioning sessions
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  5. #5
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Further description of the plan..

    Actually, I have two plans that may become intertwined. One is an infill plan. The area of the plan has not been identified yet, nor has the limits of the plan or goals; only the name of the plan.

    The other is a Greyfield plan. Again, goals and such could be anything and nothing has been defined at this point.

    For the Infill plan, I imagine I will establish what goals I believe are to be accomplished, then data collection, then redefine the goals, then plan commission sub-committe, then focus group, and focus group some more, At least, that's what I believe will the start.

    So, I've got to develop this plan and still continue my daily counter, phone, enforcement and commission duties.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I would also recommend checking to see if you have any state enabling legislation that gives specific suggestions and/or requirements. I know that the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code mentions several things that they would like to have in a plan. I think that would be a good place to start, because then you might be able to create a check list type of outline that could morph into specific sections and chapters within your plan. It would also allow for the a guide point for task force groups to research or for multiple public meetings.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  7. #7
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I would also recommend checking to see if you have any state enabling legislation that gives specific suggestions and/or requirements...
    ditto...I have been the PM on a number of comp plans...each very different...hope you have professional services money to hire some consultantst to bring some new blood into an inner circle to be your think tank. Why don't you hire Cardinal????
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    I agree on the state enabling legislature. It comes in very handy.

    In your plans, will you be creating public open space? I have learned that park planning is very different from my experiences in land use, current planning, and transporation. If your plan does, I would recommend noting what your community needs (i.e., active rec).

    If you create a task force or visioning team, you may want to keep the numbers down in term of the members because they can become unwieldy.

    I have had luck with visual preference surveys.

    Good luck on your mission to do real planning!!

  9. #9

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    Successful plans start with a good public involvement program. If you think that the plan shoudl reflect the goals " I believe" should be implemented your career as a long range planner will be painful, but probably brief. Design a program that gets everyone relevant involved, build a set of goals and strategies, then go look for the tools you will need to implement them.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I have been involved with a few and will echo the public involvement part. The best plans I have seen are built from the bottom and then implemented from the top

    Good luck.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    thanks for all the wise words. We're in a tough situation here. No extra money to hire out consultants, so this has to be completly done in-house. We have the resources (people and information), but time is the variable. They want results.. and results quickly with our already stretched staff. 7 planners on staff, when optimal we should have 10.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    build a set of goals and strategies, then go look for the tools you will need to implement them.
    That would be the way.

    I think that what the Legal Planning Act says has to befollowed as per procedure.Thats the basic.
    Having a clear understanding of the larger needs of the community and trying to reach them.
    Collect a lot of data, do a lot studies but no use if you do not correlate them into conclusive statements. And then work out clear solutions/methods.
    "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them".
    -Isaac Asimov

  13. #13

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    If you have to go fast, consider using charrettes. They take a lot of careful upfront organization, but produce useful results quickly once you open the doors. They are especially suitable for design-oriented plans like those you are talking about.

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