PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Community planning directly relates to the quality of life in a locality. Housing, open space, economic development, transportation and land use are all integrally related to the community’s well-being.
Long Range Planning
An effective long range planning program includes an up-to-date, relevant comprehensive plan with zoning and subdivision ordinances that implement the plan. A community may not need to re-write the entire plan in order to make it more relevant. Often, amendments to the plan and associated ordinances can greatly enhance a community’s land use program.
Implementation of the plan is more important than having an updated plan. Creating plans that accurately reflect the community’s desires, are fiscally constrained, and are transparent and accountable is how good long range planning is achieved.
Other common long range planning tools are a robust capital improvement program, an economic development strategic plan, and CDBG/Transportation Enhancement/Other funding projects and programs. These tools require expertise and dedication to develop and implement well.
Whether it’s a downtown, a corridor, an historic district, or a park, improving those areas hinges on the ability to develop a relevant, implementation oriented master plan. The plan should reflect community input, be fiscally responsible with identified funding sources, and have a defined and accountable implementation timeline.
The daily routine for most departments overwhelms and extinguishes the ability to do long range planning. Plan review, permit processing, zoning compliance, special (conditional) use applications, rezonings, sign permits and other application-based demands often strain or exceed a locality’s resources. Being able to efficiently handle the day-to-day work load is important in terms of quality community development and the ability to be more proactive.
As indicated above, implementation is critical to good planning. Grant administration and management, project development, community outreach, agency coordination, and task completion are just some of the critical elements of any good project.