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Thread: Making an FAQ to accompany a new comp plan: ideas and suggestions

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    Making an FAQ to accompany a new comp plan: ideas and suggestions

    My slowly growing community is in the process of adopting a new comprehensive plan. As you may or may not be aware, we're encountering growing opposition from environmentalists and others who would rather see the community take a BANANA approach -- build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything -- than the Smart Growth/New Urbanism approach the plan advances. They see TND as unfeasible and the same "sprawl" as conventional suburban development, consider conservation of "open space" (e.g. any undeveloped land) as an overriding issue to the exclusion of all others, and some are actually advocating demolition of "sprawl", to reclaim "open space".

    I can't make this stuff up.

    Anyhow, much of my work lately has been directed towards defending the proposed plan. There's a lot of fear, and a lot of misperceptions and misinformation floating around, much of it being circulated by those that haven't even read the plan. Unlike the groups opposed to the plan, reaching out online isn't an option for us. The community has a "no social media" policy; while Facebook and Twitter are fine to use at work, we can't use them in our work. We've got an old school static Web site, monthly newsletters, and that's it.

    I'm working on an executive summary that consolidates the Plan down to a more manageable level, with more casual language. I'm also working on an FAQ. These will ultimately be placed on the Web site. The FAQ is coming along nicely, but I'm looking for more inspiration. There's a lot of comp plan-related FAQs online, but they all seem quite basic - "What is a comprehensive plan?" "How is a comprehensive plan different than zoning?", and so on. I'm looking for more; something intended to fill in the blanks about the recommendations of the plan, and address the fears many might have. Know of any examples? Have any ideas of what "frequently asked questions" should be answered? I don't necessarily want to win over converts to the cause, but I do want to allay some fears, and be proactive in educating people about the plan before they're influenced by some of the rumors and mistruths that are circulating.

    Right now, this is what the FAQ is looking something like like.



    Why not develop at a higher density in the City of Y, instead of allowing more development in X?
    Growth just brings more traffic, crime, and change for the worse. Why encourage it?
    Isn’t local infrastructure already overstretched?
    Why not downzone or prohibit development in my neighborhood?
    Will the policies of the plan accelerate growth in X?
    Is continued building on greenfield sites sustainable?


    What is Traditional Neighborhood Development?
    What's wrong with conventional suburban development?
    Why not use the ЕсоѴillаgе model for development throughout X?
    What are some examples of TND?
    What types of housing would be in a TND?
    Would housing in a TND be affordable?
    What kind of commercial development would be in a TND?
    Would a TND include parks and open space?
    Would a TND compete with the City of Y?
    How would a TND be planned?
    How would a TND be zoned?
    How much traffic would a TND generate?

    Development regulations



    What housing issues are faced by X?

    Working and natural lands

    Economic development

    Neighborhood A (area with the most opposition to the plan)

    What kind of development is envisioned for Neighborhood A?
    Why is there so much development pressure in Neighborhood A?
    What kind of development is now allowed in Neighborhood A
    Why can't development in the Town be directed more towards Neighborhood B, C and D?
    What benefits would Neighborhood A residents get from Traditional Neighborhood Development?
    How much housing would be in a Neighborhood A TND?
    How long would it take to develop the Neighborhood A area?
    Why not develop a TND with the same number of housing units or overall density as a conventional development?
    Why not just let Neighborhood A develop as it has in the past?
    What would happen if you just ban all development in Neighborhood A?

    Neighborhood B

    What kind of development is envisioned for Neighborhood B?

    Neighborhood C

    What kind of development is envisioned for Neighborhood C?

    Neighborhood D

    What kind of development is envisioned for Neighborhood D?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    I did a reader's digets of the comp plan as a newspaper insert into the weekly newspaper - it read a little like what you have done - highlighting stuff I knew would be controversial - I think people did make the effort to read it (I wish I had kept some but didn't, sorry)

    the newspaper-like format was a little easier than a brochure

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