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Planning Commission Burnout

Earl Finkler

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
Hi everyone. We are still in a deep freeze in Arctic Alaska, but spring is coming.
I am giving a talk at our Alaska APA chapter meeting in Anchorage on March 1 to various Planning Commissioners about burnout. I've written and researched on Planner Burnout, but could use more insights/experiences on Planning Commissioner burnout. Any ideas or experiences would be very helpful. Thanks
 

Perry Norton

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
89
Points
4
Earl, would you give any credence to the idea that planning is far out of date that it is a non-player? Planners don't write for the Planning magazine anymore. Check out the writers in the February issue.
 

Earl Finkler

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
Perry, you have a good point about the relevance of planning and how planners often avoid getting out in front.
Maybe it is because some of them ---planners and planning commissioners---are burned out from so many defeats, or the perspective that they have nothing to offer.
Nice to hear from you and let's keep trying!!!
Earl
 

Perry Norton

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
89
Points
4
I'm not quite sure what is wrong. I think that planners and commissioners alike have pretty much given up on the idea of the plan for a whole city and instead concentrate on some part of the whole. They've given up on the dream.
 

Earl Finkler

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
The Dream is Alive in Alaska

Hi Perry and All Planners
I had a great time speaking to some 80 Planning Commissioners from all around Alaska last Friday in Anchorage.
We talked about burnout and overcoming it. And I sincerely believe that the dream of vibrant, dynamic and well-planned communities is alive in Alaska.
The commissioners were very responsive and had some great questions and comments and recommendations.
One concern is how to get people out of their homes, away from computer screens and televisions for meetings on planning and the future of the community.
This was a special concern in some of the outlying towns around Anchorage. People get tired out from the long commutes and don't have the energy to participate.
One person suggested more on-line voting and participation that way.
I think we need a panel on this topic sometime in the future.
There are so many takes on the topic of burnout and productive use of our time. Also how to blend family and our career, and how to keep healthy, physically and mentally.
I advised the planning commissioners to really work on teamwork to help defeat burnout, but NOT to use the Chicago Cubs as a model of teamwork.
Hey Hey
Earl
 

Perry Norton

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
89
Points
4
The Dream is Alive?

I guess I would question whether the dream is still alive. How much time do the Commissioners spend talking about the whole city of Barrow? Not the whole city in terms of transportation, or housing, but the whole city as a place to live?
I don't mean "the newsprint concept" which the Commissioners might, with the Public, engage in from time to time. I mean full time study.
 

Earl Finkler

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
City as a Whole

Boy, you always ask the Hard Questions Perry.
The Planning Commissioners I spoke to were from communities across Alaska. And I'm not sure how wide a view they take in their meetings and deliberations, but I think the interest is there -----the caring for their town or village is there.

But for one thing, when I go to meetings related to growth and development, it often seems like attorneys dominate the discussion. Nothing against attorneys, but they are not planners. However, well-meaning leaders and commissioners always seem to defer to the attorneys and their statements.
Nothing like "Well that innovative planning approach may not be legal" to put cold water on such proposals.

I'll keep listening for the commissioners with a truly wide view of their communities ---looking at the whole.
Earl
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Attorneys as planners

Just wanted to drop in a note about attorneys as planners. Our town attorney can't understand why we need a comp plan. "We've got a zoning map, for christ's sake!"

As for Planning Commission burn out - we haven't really had experience with that here - in fact many of our board members have expressed the sentiment that they'll be done with the Board when they're forcibly kicked off or die. Whichever comes first. I'd say the latter is more likely, since most of them have been on the board for at least 20 years, with a couple logging 30+.
 
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