Building a comprehensive plan - THE CYBURBIA FAQ

luckless pedestrian

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#61
oh wait, one more graph, one more map, please?

I'm not sure where to put this thought, perhaps it's merely random in nature but...

I just printed out my Comp Plan (it's done!) and it's 422 pages, one-sided
 

Streck

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#62
I have just scanned the messages, but I didn't see much about infrastructure - trunk sewer lines or interceptors based on topography, water well locations and elevated water tank locations and size based on aquifer capacity and quality, fire station locations based on an optimum travel distance, same for police stations, thoroughfare capacity and growth and related bridges, etc.

Electrical lines and substation locations?

Gas lines and pressure regulation station locations?

Schools? Parks and Recreation? Shared facilities? Stadiums?

Transportation needs? Mass transit?

Also, a basis for projecting capital improvement budget needs related to projected population, development, and tax base.

Also, I didn't see anything about a recommended ratio of residential space to commercial and industrial space percentages.

Are planners getting much engineering input to their Comprehensive Plans?
 

luckless pedestrian

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#63
I have just scanned the messages, but I didn't see much about infrastructure - trunk sewer lines or interceptors based on topography, water well locations and elevated water tank locations and size based on aquifer capacity and quality, fire station locations based on an optimum travel distance, same for police stations, thoroughfare capacity and growth and related bridges, etc.

Electrical lines and substation locations?

Gas lines and pressure regulation station locations?

Schools? Parks and Recreation? Shared facilities? Stadiums?

Transportation needs? Mass transit?

Also, a basis for projecting capital improvement budget needs related to projected population, development, and tax base.

Also, I didn't see anything about a recommended ratio of residential space to commercial and industrial space percentages.

Are planners getting much engineering input to their Comprehensive Plans?
yes, I have all that - that's why it's so dang long!

www.barharbormaine.gov under Planning Department (not Board)
 

Clore

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#64
Q. How do you address those who are ready to jump down your throat about property rights when you haven't even started drafting the plan yet?
 

boiker

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#65
Q. How do you address those who are ready to jump down your throat about property rights when you haven't even started drafting the plan yet?
They do have a right to attent the public hearings and give their two cents. They also need to realize they are probably outnumbered 9 to 1 by residents who want some level of property use restrictions and that the state government allows you the right to regulate it for the public good.
 
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#66
The following are my thoughts, from the perspective of a public planner…

Q. What should I know before starting to develop a comprehensive plan for my community?

Recognize that the final decision to adopt the plan will be made by the respective Town Board or Village Council. Be aware of the level of political will to gauge how progressive the comprehensive plan could be relative to the comfort level of the current elected officials to adopt such a plan.

Identify the critical issues in the community and anticipate that the comprehensive planning process will likely be consumed by these primary issues. Make sure that your planner has a solid understanding of these issues.

Assess the level of knowledge on planning issues in the community and when planning to plan incorporate appropriate educational components.

Q. What innovative methods do people use to advertise or increase turnout at public meetings?

Have used the following, sometimes to no avail: newpaper notices, press releases, vision sessions, surveys, focus groups, appointed planning committees, meeting consolidation i.e., all day Saturdays. Since we are rural we implemented a late meeting start time, sometimes as late as 8:00 p.m. to allow farmers to finish their farm chores. This has worked well. This may also work in the suburbs for those who have hour-long commutes from the big city.

Q. What do you do when you've exhausted all of your means and still cannot get any substantial public input for the community's plan?

Get property rights interest groups involved. They will drum up public input. This actually worked in one of the towns I worked with. Dismal attendance swelled to over 100 in a town of only about 300 people. We got great media coverage and the end result was a plan that respected property rights but also set the stage for a very progressive and bright future.

Otherwise, if there is not much input and the group knows that they tried every avenue to get input just figure that the final plan is ok and adopt it.

One other method that I have tried that has worked well includes directing your ad-hoc planning committee to bring at least two of their neighbors with them to meetings—or at least talk to them to get input on proposed policies and bring the input back to the larger group. Talking with your neighbors is cheap, easy and seems to always solicit the most candid input.


Q. What are the key elements/aspects that the comprehensive plan should address?

Planning affects communities and ultimately the lives of people. List as many elements as you want, all are valid and important—the reality, in my opinion, is that the key element is about community and people. As a side, just be aware of any State element requirements.
Q. 6 months after it's adoption and printing, is there any reason to keep drafts / comments in the file?

Yes! Keep everything. Put it all in archives and let you successor make the decision. In one case comments made by some members of the public were used in a court case. Your employer also probably has a records retention policy. It is public record. Keep it!

Q. Does anyone have an example of a Comp Plan Timeline?

We have many. Some are complex and some are simple. I can certainly forward these to anyone who is interested.

I guess I’d like to add the questions, Is there value in Comprehensive Planning?

Yes and No. In many cases our communities, prior to the adoption of their comprehensive plan, had simple land use plans. The comprehensive planning legislation in our State has required communities to address nine elements. While there is value in this, in every planning process each community wanted to address the main issues of interest (and right away), which typically dealt with conflicts between rural development and agriculture. It has been difficult for small communities of 300-500 people to accept the need for comprehensive planning and for it to be so… well… comprehensive. On the other hand it has forced communities to think about their future and how they are going to get there. By far the greatest benefit that I have witnessed from comprehensive planning has been the creation of new community leaders ready and comfortable to move their community forward. While the older leaders have done a fine job for the last, oh 25 years or so, fresh perspectives and new leaders are needed to move ahead and prepare for the future.

Q. How do you address those who are ready to jump down your throat about property rights when you haven't even started drafting the plan yet?

I posted this under a previous threat and will post it again. Property rights is a valid concern, but so is the future of the community. Use the bundle of rights discussion and this will likely diffuse the situation.

“The property rights discussion is a hard yet real one. If you look at property by itself, property ownership comes with a bundle of rights. The right to develop it, the right subdivide it, the right to establish a commercial enterprise, the right to sell it, the right to extract resources from it, the right to…whatever you want with it. But it also includes the security that your rights won’t be diminished by what your neighbor chooses to do with their land. Once this connection is made, than the connection can be made to the purpose of regulation—which is not to solely remove property rights—but to actually protect property rights. So property rights are all of these things, but it is also the security offered by regulation that your property rights and enjoyment of your property will not be diminished by the choices of others.

From a broader sense, many communities have some sort of plan that contains a community vision and/or goals that are based upon public participation efforts. To achieve this vision of a future community, property owners need to relinquish some of their rights, but in return they gain the opportunity to own property in a community that will maintain or enhance its values and character.”
 
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#67
getting and maintaing public interest

Originally posted by Planderella

Q. What do you do when you've exhausted all of your means and still cannot get any substantial public input for the community's plan?
Q. What innovate methods do people use to advertise or increase turnout at public meetings?
Where I live (Sweden) the comprehensive plan is strategic in nature and although "adopted" by Council is not legally binding. The detailed plan by contrast, is. Amongst other things, the comprehensive plans identify where detailed plans need to be provided or updated.

Accepting that my municipality was not huge, I thought it innovative to find a little brochure in my mail box one day. It explained that the municipality was starting a comprehensive planning exercise and invited direct involvement. It also identified a number of "strategic" issues that needed to be addressed, and asked several specific questions which we as residents were encouraged to give inputs to. The answers could be written directly in the brochure and the whole thing returned to the municipality.

An alternative would be to get e-mail addresses of residents and send them info over the net. You need to follow your own laws to avoid any accusation of spamming or whatever.

In my own separate planning exercise, I have tried to start with assets and vision, rather than problems. The response was surprisingly enthusiastic. It led to the spontaneous establishment of a civic "committee" that developed into a "town development NGO." Although the plan did address hard physical infrastructural aspects, it became (I think because of the starting point with assets) more focused on economic opportunities, and the provision of infrastructure (including zoning and regulations) to encourage new entrepreneurs and employment. There were civic/business supported beautification projects started and completed before the plan even got finished. The plan identified a number of programs to undertake over the coming 5 years.

The idea in that town is now to have a festival at budget time each year. The theme of the festival will focus on various assets in town, but behind the scenes council will meet with business people and civic reps to review progress and re-prioritise programs as an input to the new budget. This is hoped to keep up the momentum of public and business sector involvement. In the fourth year, the overall plan will be reviewed - do we need to change strategies? priorities? are there new trends? are our visions still valid, etc.?

One conclusion from this, on the question of what should be known prior to starting is...how to work with people. Or as a slightly altered book title might put it:

How to talk so people will listen and listen so people will talk.
 
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#70
Q: How do you keep an over-zealous community from driving away businesses by inflating land prices after reading the land use section of a comprehensive plan?

Our town has a good comprehensive plan, and citizens and government officials are behind it 100% (which seems odd, especially for Texas). They're too into it. When several of the old-money landowners surrounding our town (2007 pop. estimate 17,000 on roughly 7 square miles) and local real estate developers read our land use section, which has a progressive outlook, speculation started pushing current land prices to the values we were supposed to be seeing when our land use plan comes to fruition in 20 years. Surrounding communities who have either had a comprehensive plan longer than we have or do not yet have one are drawing potential commercial development away because land is less expensive. Has anyone else dealt with this problem, or, more importantly, does anyone have any ideas for solutions to this problem? Without the commercial development that was part of our land use plan, the city's tax base and general livability will suffer, and many of the assumptions and plans made in our comprehensive plan will be nullified or useless.
 
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#71
stakeholder analysis

Q. What innovative methods do people use to advertise or increase turnout at public meetings?
It occurred to me as I whistled through this thread again, that perhaps we need to look more specifically at the plan's stakeholders. There are lots of ways to classify them, according to their legitimacy, power and loudness, or their particular sector of interest. But getting a better understanding of their different types of interest in the plan may give ideas of how to reach them and target discussions with them. (Chambers of Commerce, Civic organisations, PTAs, faith groups, residential associations, and so on.)

It also gives a good idea of which interest groups will be for or against particular elements in the plan (force field analysis), and help design strategies to deal in constructive ways with antagonists.
 

luckless pedestrian

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#72
I don't know if this is the right place for it but Town Meeting approved my comprehensive plan with an 82% margin - 32% showed up for the ballot compared to 20% statewide - not a bad mandate

:)

I will do a write up that I will post somewhere in Cyburbia about the process I used and what worked and what didn't and what will I do the next time as well as the implementation scheme - so stay tuned -
 
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#73
Attractive Comprehensive Plans

Does anyone have any examples of "attractive" Comprehensive Plans both in printed format and web format? We're working on our next Comp Plan update, and our leaders have requested a "sexy" document (their choice of adjective, not mine).
 
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#74
I also need some sample Comp Plans and some advice on how to educate a community that wants no part of a comprehensive plan.

The town I'm dealing with has a proposed movie production studio to be built on town owned land. The townsfolk are so excited about the possibility of Hollywood in their own backyard and the amount of high quality jobs that no one is concerned about the development aspects. No one is concerned about the related development to schools, roads, sewer, water, etc. .... Any help is appreciated.

The thinking is that the developers will provide a master plan for the area and it will save the town money.
 

Tide

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#77
We have begun our comp plan process in the county. If you would like to follow along I will send you the website URL via PM.

We already have a survey and in 2 weeks have over 50 respondents (county population 160k+)
We are reaching out to 10 total remote locations to get local input. 5 in the fall and 5 in the spring.
More maps and data will be available as we have more workshops.
 

Tide

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#79
The work in progress is in full swing. We've had two public information gathering events and three to go. You can see our meager website www.co.berkeley.sc.us/comprehensiveplan and follow along if you like. We are up to 165 respondents to the survey and have had 53 citizens attend the first two meetings.

After the fall round of meetings we will be meeting with our COG (local MPO) to discuss our findings. After that we will be back out to the county in the spring for the more fine tuned meetings discussing where workforce housing should go, industrial sites, transportation improvements, and other policies. A draft of the plan will be up as well in 2009.

If you see anything you like or want some help or input feel free to email or PM me.
 

Plan-it

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#80
Has anyone had and experience running any modeling with the comp plan to try and combine land use and transportation elements (i.e. run your land use model(s) with existing vs planned transportation systems to determine choke points, congestion, etc)?
 
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