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Thread: Stop and Start planning

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Stop and Start planning

    As long as there are these various threads out right now regarding comp plans, zoning, etc.. I figured I toss a related question into the mix.

    What does everyone suggest regarding a planning process that was started several years ago, went through about 4 planners, and is now sitting on the shelf being picked at by various part- time interns?

    It seems to me that the outcome of a planning process should be twofold:

    1) a Plan
    2) a planning process that gets everyone involved, establishes the vision, etc.. and is the jumping-off point for implementing the plan.

    It seems that, by having such a start and stop planning process here, we may eventually have the plan written, but there will be no momentum at all coming out of the process itself. The plan will, in all likelihood, sit on the shelf. At this rate, why even bother finishing it? Should we pitch the whole thing and start over?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2

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    Pitch it and start with a new visioning process that gets people engaged. And hope that everyone learns the lesson of critical mass - you get out of a planning process what you put in.

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    Pitch it and start with a new visioning process that gets people engaged. And hope that everyone learns the lesson of critical mass - you get out of a planning process what you put in.
    I agree with Lee on this.....better to start anew and get the public involved then try to get something off the shelf that may or may not have any broad community support.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Starting over is what I thought would be the best idea as well, but I don't think there's any way that they city is going to go for it. They've had about 6 years of hassle regarding this and gone through way too many planners to just pitch this particular 800 pound gorilla, I'm afraid.

  5. #5

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    Perhaps a visioning event and the subsequent work could be pitched as a revival, as renewing the energy and building on the existing document.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    Perhaps a visioning event and the subsequent work could be pitched as a revival, as renewing the energy and building on the existing document.
    I mostly agree with Lee if the work that has been done previously is still valid and fresh -- a visioning process will work. But if it is dated, than I say trash it and start anew.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    Think Fresh :-)

    The problem we face 'out here' is that the plan preparation process used to take so many years that even the planners involved lost their orientation and zeal.
    The whole comprehensive plan preparation methodology of covering and analysing data right from annual rainfall to local vegetation would make a great report with interesting maps, but that report would not have a clear cut action plan either in the map form or report form.

    Now that the plans for large cities( revisions actually) are being made within two years things are better.

    I stick to the basics when it comes to master planning. This was what I was told in the planning school:
    The final plan should have two components:
    1. Land Use and Zoning Regulation Map.
    2. Report with all details and specifically the regulations to go with the map above. ( and keeping those regulations clearly in tabular formats for ease in understanding.

    Whenever I am asked to review somebody else's work or an earlier plan, I make it a point to go through it atleast a few times( even if it is done cursorily) and even if I have been asked to dump it.
    So if you are restart the process, it should be done but atleast know what was done earlier. Maybe there we re things that weren't good. Maybe thats what you need to know!! Do this in your spare time.

    PS: The gist of my message is in the my title.
    "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them".
    -Isaac Asimov

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for all the replies everyone.

    I'm really not sure what is going to happen to this plan. We're at a strange place in the process- it was begun about 5-6 years ago, so a lot of people feel like too much effort was put into everything to just start over, but since its been sitting on the shelf for about two years, all the momentum is gone.

    I really like the idea of having a "plan revival" and have mentioned it to the people that will be around to work on it (I'm leaving town in 1 1/2 months for a new job). We'll see what they do about it.

  9. #9
    My community is currently going through a similar scneario as you described, except that the delays were due to the amlagamation of several former cities and towns into a new city. There was an approximately three year gap between the previous effort and the new one.

    I agree with the others that you can either start flesh or call this second attempt a "revival". But regardless, our experience with previous plan preparation as well as this one is that you should get it completed within one Council term of office. Otherwise, you could lose momentum, continuity and political buy-in. In our case, we had a new Council elected in November 2003. The next municipal election will be held on November 2006. Therefore, we have scheduled to have the final draft plan ready by the end of 2005, and plan adoption in the spring of 2006. (We actually started the new plan preparation process in the spring of 2003.)

    The key issue here is that your department needs to get the political support, the necessary budget and staff allocation to allow you to stick to such a schedule.

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