Department of Planning and Community Development

Planning Basics

What is a Plan?

A plan is a blueprint that helps your community go from where it is today to where you want it to be in the future. During the planning process, community stakeholders (residents, community groups, property owners, businesses, developers, investors, etc.) talk about issues (what needs work/what could be better), develop goals (where do you want to go), and create action steps (how to get from today to where we want to be). Plans include three basic elements: land use, transportation networks, and community facilities. Other specific issues identified by community members can be addressed by the plan. Plan development, from the first public meeting to City Council approval, generally takes 9 months to a year. 

What is the difference between a Neighborhood Plan and a Community Plan?

Neighborhood Plans focus on smaller geographic areas of about one square mile, 4,000 to 10,000 residents or at least 1,500 dwellings. Neighborhood Plans generally include the population necessary to support an elementary school. Usually, two or more neighborhood association areas are included within a Neighborhood Plan. Community Plans focus on larger geographic areas that include between 20,000 and 60,000 people and several neighborhoods. Community Plans include the population necessary to support at least one middle or high school.

What are the benefits of a Neighborhood or Community Plan?

Plans created with the involvement of the Planning Department are presented to City Council for formal approval. Once approved, the plan is used by City departments, boards, and commissions as a guide for decision-making. Key projects may be selected from plans to be included in the Annual Improvement Project Report that is recommended to City Council as a part of the budget process. Plans also help communities organize their ideas into a single document that can be shared with residents, potential community partners, and investors.

How do I request help in creating a Neighborhood or Community Plan?

Neighborhood associations, community organizations, and other community-related groups are eligible to apply. The applicant organizations need to recruit Planning Team representatives to ensure that as many of the stakeholder groups as possible have committed to participate in the planning process. Begin by reviewing the Neighborhood Workbook, A Step by Step Guide to Neighborhood Planning.

How do interested groups apply?

The 2006-2007 Community and Neighborhood Planning application process will open on October 1, 2006.  Applications will be accepted until Thursday, March 1, 2007.  The application process is competitive.  Applications are available on the website for downloading.  Community Plan Applications are strongly encouraged.


If you have questions about the application process, please call 207-7873.


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