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Citizen planners / planning boards A citizen planner's tool box

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
I want this thread to be a gathering place for the kinds of free, cheap, and alternative resources that are most needed by citizen planners, who often have little or no budget, do their work in their “spare time” after their day-job is over, and generally lack resources of all types. I will start it with some of the lists of links I have put together at various times, so that new people can find them all in one place without searching all of Cyburbia. Naturally, contributions of your own favorite resources are welcome. :)
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
28
The Planning for Results Guidebook: Practical Advice for Building Successful Rural Communities is available from the National Association of Counties for a very reasonable price. This book was written for elected officials and citizens, and explains 11 "hallmarks" of a successful local planning process. An order form is available on the Sonoran Institute's web site <www.sonoran.org>.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Moderator
Messages
10,959
Points
31
Must read, must have in your tool box.

Everyone Wins! A Citizen's Guide to Development
Richard D. Klein (APA 1990).

Also:

The Citizen's Guide to Planning
Herbert H. Smith (APA, 5th 1995)

Looking at Cities
Allan B. Jacobs (Harvard, 1985)

Neighborhood Planning: A Guide for Citizens and Planners
Bernie Jones (APA, 1990)

(Some of these are older and may be out-of-print or newer versions may have been published in the meantime. Any good local library --and certainly a university library--should have access to them.)
 
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maximov

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
Michele, this is really great, thank you!

Is it okay to post any old link here? This one, with articles and cases on land use law, has helped me a lot:

http://law.wustl.edu/landuselaw/

A particular case I just ran across on that site, BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF TETON COUNTY v. CROW, has a zoning-empowering opinion and great stuff in the appendix.


Also, a book: I'm not positive about the title, but I think it is Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities, or something very similar. Great examples.

I won't take any credit since I probably found both references on this forum- thanks!
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
maximov said:
Michele, this is really great, thank you!

Is it okay to post any old link here? This one, with articles and cases on land use law, has helped me a lot:
You are welcome.

As per the precedent set in Building a Comprehensive Plan - THE CYBURBIA FAQ, I reserve the right to moderate and modify this thread more heavily than 'normal' to keep it from getting chatty and off-topic. Letting it stray too much would defeat the purpose of the thread, which is to have a convenient repository of solid resources. But "any old link" that people have found useful in this type of work is certainly welcome. I appreciate how quickly people are jumping in to contribute. I also welcome commentary and descriptors for the link(s) so that it is easier to determine what is most relevant to a new person looking for resources, presumably in crisis mode. :) I reserve the right to combine posts if someone adds good commentary about a previously posted resource, in order to make the thread more useful. (I promise to do my best to keep author attributions clear. :) )
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
Watersheds and Hydrology Resources

This is a repost of some of my comments in the thread This is taking nature conservancy a bit too far. (I am posting it here because one citizen planner e-mailed me to ask permission to forward it.)


I have had a hydrology class and "environmental geology" and ... some other related stuff. It is a well established fact that additional impervious surfaces cause more water pollution -- both chemical and sediments -- from non-point sources (run off), more soil erosion, more frequent and more extremes floods, more mudslides, and so on.

Here is a quote from an EPA site:
8 tools of watershed protection in developing areas
Tool #1: land use planning
http://www.epa.gov/watertrain/protection/index2.html
"Although presence of vegetated streamside buffer zones or wetlands can help counteract impervious cover impacts, a watershed exceeding 10% impervious cover will generally not be able to support a high quality stream system. In this particular classification system, subwatersheds with impervious cover of less than 10% are classified as sensitive. A subwatershed with 10 - 25% impervious cover is classified as a degraded or impacted system. Any stream's watershed having greater than 25% impervious is classified as a non-supporting stream with characteristics such as eroding banks, poor biological diversity, and high bacterial levels."

I would like to note that the EPA site that I quoted...which used to be called "Watershed Academy 2000"... has a fair amount of free online training for any watershed questions. I have also bookmarked a number of things from some of the modules I have done from that site. It is a great place to go for ANYTHING having to do with watersheds/water quality/etc.
----
Additional resources:


FOREST COVER, IMPERVIOUS-SURFACE AREA, AND THE MITIGATION OF
URBANIZATION IMPACTS IN KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON


Stormwater Appendix -- King County, WA

METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING EFFECTS OF EXTENT AND GEOMETRY OF IMPERVIOUS SURFACE ON HYDROLOGIC BALANCE
(abstract of resource)


The Cumulative Effects of Urbanization on Small Streams
in the Puget Sound Lowland Ecoregion


Arnold, C. and J. Gibbons. 1996. Impervious Surface Coverage: The Emergence of a Key Environmental Indicator. Journal of the American Planning Association 62(2):243-258.

URBANIZING WATERSHEDS AND CHANGING RIVER FLOOD DYNAMICS:
IMPLICATIONS FOR URBAN WETLAND RESTORATION
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
Homelessness and Public Policy -- free class

I paid the money and took this class for credit but if you don't need the academic credit and you just want edification for free, the entire class (except where you log in to post assignments if you are taking it for credit) is available for free, online:

Homelessness and Public Policy
 
Messages
1
Points
0
Check out resources on the National Charrette Institute's website (charretteinstitute.org) for download information and links. Have used Charrettes for about 100 projects.


Michele Zone said:
I want this thread to be a gathering place for the kinds of free, cheap, and alternative resources that are most needed by citizen planners, who often have little or no budget, do their work in their “spare time” after their day-job is over, and generally lack resources of all types. I will start it with some of the lists of links I have put together at various times, so that new people can find them all in one place without searching all of Cyburbia. Naturally, contributions of your own favorite resources are welcome. :)
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
I just tripped across this...

New Village
Welcome to New Village, the journal of enlightened leadership in community planning, development, and revitalization.

New Village is published by the national organization Architects/ Designers/ Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) and is written for practitioners and citizen activists, alike.
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
Winning Political and Community Support for Your Project

When I attended the 2005 APA Conference in San Francisco last weekend, the first session I attended was 3 hours long and was called &#8220;Winning Political and Community Support for Your Project&#8221;. The Presenter, Debra Stein, talked about some things I have talked about elsewhere on Cyburbia, such as learning styles, personality type, etc. Yes, the website is mostly to promote her/their business. But there is a page with links to articles they have written: List of Articles. (books are listed at the topic -- scroll down a little to the articles)

The articles are free and seem to be a good source of useful information for Citizen Planners. :)
 
Messages
167
Points
7
As far as Free GIS software goes, try QGIS , I have been using this for a while, the pan feature works better that ARCGIS, and touting it to several smaller municipalities that i serve that are curious about the aspects of GIS :)
 

Monamogolo

Cyburbian
Messages
188
Points
7
A very rich source

Try

http://www.communityplanning.net/index.htm

This has a wide variety of tools, case studies, contacts, web sites. There are approaches and tools gathered from around the world. some of them may not seem appropriate in a modern US city, but they may give inspiration for adaptations that would work well.

In today's increasingly hazardous world, planners need to think about vulnerability - something that gets too little attention even among planners pushing sustainability. For this there is a good site at:

http://www.csc.noaa.gov/products/nchaz/startup.htm

Don't be put off by it the "coastal" emphasis. The tools can be applied in many contexts.

Search the web for Asset Based Community Development, Appreciative Inquiry, and follow links from some of the interesting hits. There is a lot under these headings that is very useful in bringing new and exciting life to community participation in planning and development.

Monamogolo
 

Peter Whitley

Member
Messages
22
Points
2
For skatepark planning, try Skaters for Public Skateparks. They are a 501(c)3, non-profit organization and 100% volunteer owned and operated. They provide, gratis, great information about skatepark vision, siting, design, and management. Most of the contributors are skateboarders themselves and are familiar with the particular constraints and challenges of skatepark development.

www.skatersforpublicskateparks.org

For direct feedback, visit their forums.
 

Mr Downtown

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
Ideas for making &quot;development presentation&quot; meetings useful?

I live in a hot neighborhood (Chicago's South Loop), where I'm the planning & development monitor for the neighborhood association. We know lots more new buildings are coming in the next 20 years, and want to be sure the neighborhood works well over the next half-century and ages gracefully.

Our one and only tool is the "development presentation," where either our association or the alderman's office invites/forces the developer of a new project to "present" it to whoever shows up for an evening meeting in the local church basement. Pretty renderings of a completely designed building are shown, people ask questions, some more pointed than others, the developer and his hired hands (architects, lawyers) give some kind of noncommittal answer, and eventually it gets late and everyone drifts away. There's no resolution, the residents often have a wide variety of opinion on the various issues, and even if there's a group that feels strongly (next-door neighbors) they behave politely and are dismissed as having parochial concerns. By the time of the meeting, the developer has spent hundreds of thousands on architectural and legal fees, so desperately wants to avoid any changes. Downtown zoning in Chicago is incredibly generous. The mayor (and therefore the planning director) always wants as much development as possible as fast as possible. A four-year-old neighborhood plan is never mentioned, even by city planning staff.

But we have a new alderman, with whom I'm meeting next week to discuss process issues. So I'm looking for ideas on how to make these presentation meetings more meaningful and more useful. An intensive process with buy-in from both residents and developers (like a multiday charrette) is just not in the cards: both groups of players change too much every year. But there must be some techniques to make these kinds of "public hearings" on fully designed projects more useful as an actual citizen participation tool.
 

darnoldy

Cyburbian
Messages
52
Points
4
Cyburbians-

I just got appointed to my city's historical and landmarks commission. I was hoping there might be some pointers to historical preservation resources in this thread--but no joy. Can any of you point me to some good stuff?

--don
 

rsstone

Member
Messages
5
Points
0
A few more resources that might be helpful:

-Big Box Evaluator (www.bigboxevaluator.org) - free web program to show and communicate the impacts of big box development

-Cause Communications toolkit - free PDF or hard copy of a great communications toolkit for non-profits. Info about everything from writing press releases to building websites and tracking communications success.

-Community Almanac (www.communityalmanac.org) - free web-based platform for sharing stories, videos, photos, and comments. Communities can set up and moderate their own pages.

-Grassroots.org - free tech services and info for nonprofits. Tons of free resources and services from web hosting and website development to phone services, etc.

-Wikiplanning.org - "the virtual charrette". New, interactive site to help communities host discussions and interactive planning processes.
 

urbanplanner7

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
QUESTION TO ALL MUNICIPAL PLANNERS!

If you are completing a minor variance staff report on rear and side yard set backs.... you are not suppose to add in residents comments in the report to Committee of adjustment correct?

The way I see it is that we are looking for all of the technicalities within the planning, fire, hydro etc services and the CofA deals with the neighbours... am I correct???
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Messages
26,401
Points
52
If you are completing a minor variance staff report on rear and side yard set backs.... you are not suppose to add in residents comments in the report to Committee of adjustment correct?

The way I see it is that we are looking for all of the technicalities within the planning, fire, hydro etc services and the CofA deals with the neighbours... am I correct???
IF written communications are received from citizens before our agendas are mailed out to the board members, we'll attach them. Frequently, however, we recieve communications after the agendas have gone out, and in such cases we either include their letter as part of a supplemental agenda (assembled the day of the meeting) or advise folks they may provide the board a copy of their letter at the time of the hearing when that item is on the agenda. What we positively do NOT include in either the regular or supplemental agenda are citizen comments received orally ("Mr. Jones of 1357 Main St. says he thinks this proposal is a bad idea...").
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,305
Points
52
From the ADL: Idiot Legal Arguments: A Casebook for Dealing with Extremist Legal Arguments. From the site:

What follows this introduction is a truly extraordinary collection of cases and decisions dealing with the "paper terrorism" tactics of the so-called "patriot" movement. While some members of this movement prefer the use of guns or bombs, the weapons of choice for many others are harassing lawsuits, harassing filings, bogus documents ranging from counterfeit money to counterfeit identification cards, tax protest arguments, and many related activities. Often these tactics are accompanied by bizarre legal or, more accurately, pseudolegal language. Many people who encounter such tactics for the first time are surprised and sometimes confused by the strange and unexpected arguments that show up in the courtroom.

Bernard Sussman has compiled the most extensive collection ever of legal citations and rulings related to these "patriot" arguments. This exhaustive concordance will be a valuable resource to attorneys and judges who will be thankful to discover that previous courts have often dealt with these issues before. However, this guide is also useful to laymen and others outside the judicial system willing to wade through all the citations. It is particularly valuable in helping people to understand the energy and ingenuity with which these extremist individuals seek to undermine or pervert the legal system through radical reinterpretations of our society’s laws. Taken together, these arguments, frivolous though they may be, represent an assault on the judicial system by people who would like to consider themselves immune to the laws that govern modern society. In putting together this collection of precedents, Bernard Sussman has provided a great service to all who wish to see the laws preserved.
 

masterplanner

Member
Messages
5
Points
0
Useful links

In general, especially for non-professional planners the following link offers a wealth of information. Of special note: The interactive visualizing density is a great tool to help people understand the truth about density, but Lincoln has research publications on everything from valuation and taxation to NIMBYism.

http://www.lincolninst.edu/subcenters/visualizing-home/

If you live in Virginia, this is an excellent source for information:

http://apavirginia.org/publications/other-publications

If you live in CA, this is a good article with links to other great ideas:

http://places.designobserver.com/feature/beyond-foreclosure-the-future-of-suburban-housing/29438/
 

Plan Ahead

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
An Australian Resource

The following website is useful as it provides some basic definitions and concepts which are universally applicable (see "Planners Toolbox"), while it is particularly useful within an Australian and South Australian context in regard to planning systems and processes.

http://www.daonline.net.au/site/
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,305
Points
52
I also welcome commentary and descriptors for the link(s) so that it is easier to determine what is most relevant to a new person looking for resources, presumably in crisis mode.
CF-ME2-XIAAOb-3.png

Considering the IP from a server farm in New Jersey known for forum spam, and a claimed location of "Chennai", I'm striking the banhammer.
 
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