TO: Local Planning Agency
FROM: Carol Cunningham
DATE: April 14, 1997
SUBJECT: Proposed "Phase 2" Public Participation Activities
The following provides our recommendation for the next phase of obtaining public input into the process of developing the Town's comprehensive plan. The purpose of the Phase 1 activities was to make folks aware of the process and how to participate; to engage their interest and ongoing participation; to stimulate a cooperative and creative planning and problem solving process; and to make a wide range of technical information and analysis available.
The outcome of the community's work in the "Designing our Town" and "Enhancing our Resources" workshops, as well as additional technical work, is now being formulated into preliminary drafts of the Community Design and Conservation/Coastal Management Elements, portions of which will be brought to you for review during May and June.
The emphasis for public input during this next phase (Phase 2), in addition to the regular LPA meetings, is intended to assist in refining the detail of policy, understanding what outstanding issues and concerns remain, and working toward a consensus on as much as possible.
An effective way to begin this phase is with a joint working session with the LPA and Council. At the suggestion of the LPA, the Town is scheduling a joint workshop meeting of the LPA and Town Council for June 17, 1997 at 7:00 P.M. so that the Council may be better integrated into the process. For that workshop we will review the complete drafts of two elements: Utilities and Stormwater Management.
We recommend that the format for this part of the working session be structured as follows: For each element, begin with an overview by Spikowski Planning Associates, followed by facilitated discussion among the members of the Council and LPA and possible direction to the consultants. Members of the public would also be invited to address the joint body. This approach would ensure the opportunity to fully explore the viewpoints of each body and greatly assist the consultant team in determining which items appear to have agreement and those items which require further work.
Once we have analyzed the results of this joint working session, and as we proceed through the remaining topic areas during the remainder of the summer session and early autumn, we will recommend to the LPA a community-based problem-solving approach tailored for remaining issue areas.
One highly successful method has been to convene those who have actively participated and represent various perspectives in the community on a "by-issue or by-topic" basis where there can be "sleeves rolled up" working sessions to zero in on the pros and cons of proposed policies and to recommend modifications which work towards consensus.
Another effective means of obtaining purposeful input during this period is for designated LPA members and/or consultants to attend meetings of relevant organizations or agencies to explore implications of proposed policy from their perspective.
As we complete the work of Phase 2 (reviewing the preliminary draft elements), we will return to the LPA with recommendations on how best to conduct the public outreach and input process as the draft plan is completed and moves into the public hearing stage.
The LPA should discuss this suggested approach at the next meeting on April 22 at 7:00 P.M. at Town Hall.