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Thread: Is your community planning proactive and interactive.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Is your community planning proactive and interactive.

    We are looking at ways to improve our Zoning and Code Enforcement program, and most of us have said the same thing. We need to be proactive and interactive. I am wondering how many other communities have their planners, zoning officers, and code enforcement officers go to neighborhood meetings and act in a interactive role. I have been doing research on highly effective businesses and cooperationís and I have found that they are extremely interactive and proactive. I am just wondering how effective it would be for a community development department to be the same way.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Do some, could do more (but would it help/)

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    We are looking at ways to improve our Zoning and Code Enforcement program, and most of us have said the same thing. We need to be proactive and interactive. I am wondering how many other communities have their planners, zoning officers, and code enforcement officers go to neighborhood meetings and act in a interactive role. I have been doing research on highly effective businesses and cooperationís and I have found that they are extremely interactive and proactive. I am just wondering how effective it would be for a community development department to be the same way.
    We generally try out best to do outreach, although the general perception of the community is probably that we don't do enough of it. Part of the problem is that we spend so much time doing state, federal or local paperwork that we have limited time to do outreach. We do have a very active population who are on a variety of committees and boards, so that makes the job easier in some ways.

    At the risk of being a curmugeon, I also think that outreach only goes so far- you reach organized constituencies but miss the majority of people that don't have the time or inclination to be involved in these groups- missing much of the picture. But on the whole I do believe in contructive engagement with the public. There simply will be times that you do not agree from a professional perspective with them, or you suspect that most people in the town don't agree with what you hear. Its all part of the game! And when it comes to specific developments, neighborhood meetings are essential.

  3. #3
    Our meetings are published, signs are placed, info is available on our website, and we still can't get anyone to the meetings unless their personal ox is gored. I would like to get more public input but the only input we get is either NIMBY or reverse NIMBY [ special interest zoning ]. I would like any comments as well..

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nighthawk1959
    Our meetings are published, signs are placed, info is available on our website, and we still can't get anyone to the meetings unless their personal ox is gored. I would like to get more public input but the only input we get is either NIMBY or reverse NIMBY [ special interest zoning ]. I would like any comments as well..
    Do people from your office go out to neighborhood meetings?

  5. #5
    The only neighborhood meetings in our town come about because of said ox being gored. If we know about it, some of us will attend. However, we do have to be aware of quorums and open meetings laws. This can be quite frustrating at times. Plus by the nature of the reasons for the meetings, we are automatically the "bad" guys. I have personally talked with some people one on one and had a nearly 180 degree chande in their attitude. People as a whole do not understand planning and zoning. To them, it is just another way of government to control their lives. When you illistrate the consequenses of possible zoning anarchy, the light bulb comes on. I would just like to find a way to educate and involve more people in the process.

  6. #6
         
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Do people from your office go out to neighborhood meetings?
    Staff from our Community Development Department do attend a lot of neighborhood meetings. We have several different historic neighborhood associations and we attend each of those meetings each month, along with any committess thats have spun off of those neighborhood groups. We are extremely active in the neighborhood groups. This is a fairly recent change with our director. He came here about 3 years ago and we have done it this way ever since. I can tell that the citizens are extremely happy to have us there to answer questions they may have. Having Staff in the community helps to eliminate (well ok, reduce the "bad guy" theory many people have about City Staff.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Outnumbered

    Our Code Enforcement staff outnumbers our planning staff by 3 to 1 We are very proactive when it comes to enforcement. We are not proactive when it comes to planning..... due to a lack of staff for the level of work. Makes me upset that we have staff to ensure that that tree was installed to within 1/2 inch of specs, but can we get help on current planning issues.......not.... Our code people tend to get people to the nats nads on every little thing.....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  8. #8
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    The Planning Director goes to various meetings all of the time, but no one else is encouraged to do so. There are just so many neighborhood and civic groups that we could never cover them all, and he only goes by direct invitation. It's an interesting thought, but we are more reactive due to the heavy growth that is going on. When we have ideas that may be proactive, we try very hard to get those through but often can't devote the staff time and resources to them with so many other things happening. They get through eventually, but slowly. At my last job we were able to do things in a more proactive basis (and would have killed for any growth) but here things are happening so fast we are barely keeping up.

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