The Effective Planning Commissioner

Starting Out the New Year on the Right Foot

January 5th, 1993
Article #419

Read an excerpt from this article below. You can download the full article by using the link at the end of the excerpt.

There are many ways to evaluate your planning board's effectiveness. On the quantitative level, you can count how many applications you have considered or zoning and planning actions you have taken in a given amount of time; you can measure the number of people served over the counter or by phone to get an idea of whether you are staffed properly. You can give yourselves kudos for adhering to the tenets of your comprehensive plan or demerits for the "compromises" that still make you uneasy. If you have an adopted strategic plan with goals and guidelines, it can serve as a good baseline.

Other measurements you might consider are qualitative in nature and therefore more subjective. They can give you a different, but valid, picture of your effectiveness. These qualities are patience, persistence, and passion.

Patience. It will not take long after you have joined the planning board to become an "insider." You will begin to understand professional planning jargon and may even be able to decipher plat maps and legal documents.

That knowledge, which is essential to doing a good job on the commission, can also cause you to be impatient with lesser informed citizens who slow down commission meetings with simple or elementary questions. ...

End of excerpt

... Elaine Cogan continues her discussion of patience as an attribute; then goes on to discuss persistence and passion.

photo of Elaine CoganElaine Cogan, founding principal of the Portland, Oregon planning and communications firm of Cogan Owens Cogan, has consulted for more than 36 years with communities undertaking strategic planning and visioning processes. Cogan has been honored for her work on a variety of citizen involvement projects.

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