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City self assessment?

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Is there a "city self assessment" method on Cyburbia to evaluate our present planning capabilities?

I am a member of our Planning Commission, but am not a City Planner. What kind of guidelines are on Cyburbia for us to know how we compare to other city planning approaches?

How do we know what we lack, and what we could do to improve our capability internally and our services to the city?

Is there a guideline as to how we should conduct our City Planning meetings?

Is there a guideline as to what we should have in relationship to our "City Plan"?

Is there a guideline as to what should be presented to the Planning Commission by the City Planner?
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Moderator
Messages
7,325
Points
30
There's a whole lot of "your mileage may vary" to those questions. I don't think Cyburbia has anything, but I'm pretty sure its Throbbing Brain[SUP]TM[/SUP] can come up with some pointers.
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
A series of Cyburbia site links appeared when this message was posted. Although not specifically what I was looking for, this will give me some reading material to search. Thanks Cyburbia.

In the meantime, the question is still open.
 
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DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,537
Points
36
How do we know what we lack, and what we could do to improve our capability internally and our services to the city?

In theory this is what your general or comprehensive plan should be telling you. The plan should be your long range vision of the city with hopefully some milestones or direction of how to get there. Most cities start out with a great plan and then it gets ignored after the next election because the new people aren't vested in the plan. Then the only ones vested in the plan are the planners which makes us look crazy with our "big" ideas to make the place great. What it comes down to, figure out what the city wants, set some goals, and start measuring to see if you're getting there. For my county we pride ourselves on agriculture. I measure how much agriculture we've been saving every year by deed restrictions and other methods. Because cities are such needy creations wanting jobs, housing, retail, recreation,... I normally recommend focusing on one aspect and accomplish it or at least get to the point where it's always on everyone's mind when they mention your city. The city I live in has always seemed scattered to me trying to go after jobs here, housing there, parks and art plus bike lanes. None of it really got done because they spent money all over instead of investing in one thing (just don't over invest). Now they have a downtown/river plan and are focusing everything on that. It's making a few people mad because the city won't fund new water lines for new development, but I think if they actually pull it off it'll be a great amenity that will help lure jobs, housing, and all those other things cities want.

Sorry, there's no one easy answer to say you're winning the game of planning. Just try to be the best city you can be.

Is there a guideline as to how we should conduct our City Planning meetings?
I give my planning commissioners the book Citizens Guide to Planning. It talks about the decisions you're making and general civility. The rest follows Robert's Rules, state laws, and just covers the basic legal stuff. Make sure to listen to the people talking. Be nice to the public because it's hard to get in front of a commission (you guys are scary to people). I also tell me group to think how this would affect them if they lived next door. If you want some general decision making stuff I use what's called the "Golden" rules. I have to since I'm in Kansas and this doesn't always apply to your state. Here's a link with the Golden rules and some other interesting planning stuff.

http://www.westwoodks.org/vertical/sites/{15EFBA29-5AD1-451A-8674-DF587143350D}/uploads/The_Nature_of_Zoning_ChangesXY.pdf

Is there a guideline as to what we should have in relationship to our "City Plan"?

Your state will tell your the required guideline. Basically you either make zoning follow the plan (you should) or you're not required to. I use my plan to help base decisions. Should we rezone this? What does the plan say? In some cities they use the plan to guide capital improvement projects. The question always comes down to are you following the plan or not?

Is there a guideline as to what should be presented to the Planning Commission by the City Planner?[/QUOTE]
That's up to state laws and city policy. I usually present the facts as neutral as I can. The property is here, this is what the applicant wants to do. This is legal or not. There could be problems with X, Y, Z. There could be benefits from X, Y, Z. Then the applicant talks. We open it to public comments. The Planning Commission talks it over and might ask anyone for more information. Then they vote. If there is something you want to see more or less of, talk to the planning director and tell him.

The hard part for the whole thing is making decisions. There are times when the planner wants you to reject the thing, but can't say it because it meets all the legal requirements. They're just hoping an angry crowd convinces you to say no. Sometimes it's the other way around. The project is good, like the new 10 story apartment complex. It'll give affordable housing to a lot of people and generate retail in the area, but the crowd I can tell you now will hate it because it'll cause crime, and worse. In the end, the apartments get built and a couple years later no one cares - or maybe the public really hates it. That's why it's not an easy job.
 
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