How is the Comprehensive Plan used in decision making?
The Comprehensive Plan plays a critical role in decisions made for all communities. It is important that, as citizens are asked to participate in the process, they are given information about the way the tool they are asked to provide input on will be utilized. Below is a brief explanation of the various ways that will happen.
- First, the future land use map component is a graphical depiction that provides direction about the type and location of future development. By having a unified and organized approach, a community can continue a consistent path forward despite changes that may occur over time in staffing and leadership, ensuring the desires of the community are maintained. That said, amendments to the future land use map can be considered and adopted over time to meet the needs of a changing community.
- Second, the values, principles, and vision summarized in the Comprehensive Plan are intended to inform all decisions made by the community – budget, policy, regulations, priorities, and programs. The Plan should be at the center of every discussion to provide context and guidance. Citizens and leaders alike work best when they work collaboratively to ask the important questions, such as: does this decision we are considering align with the adopted values, principles, and vision? Is there another approach that is more in keeping with what the plan we’ve adopted?
- Third, the implementation component of the Comprehensive Plan – that is, the component that outlines the actions that are necessary to execute and achieve the identified goals – is designed to form the tasks and responsibilities that the City staff, the community as a whole, and subgroups of the community are charged with carrying out. The implementation component is an accountability document that clearly states what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and when it needs to be accomplished. This is, in short, the work plan for the next ten years. However, a plan shouldn’t be adopted and untouched for ten years. It should be updated annually and progress reported to the community and its decision-makers on a regular basis.
After an understanding of how critical the Comprehensive Plan is and should be used is established, it should be clear why community input is so important. That input can be provided in a number of ways as outlined on the project website. We challenge you to spread the word to your friends, neighbors, colleagues and family so the input is as complete as possible. Change and improvement cannot happen without engagement.