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1. Make sure your plan is doable. Many times, through the long process of preparing a plan, the goals and strategies get broadened in an attempt to make as many people happy as possible. This may help the plan "get through" all the hurdles, but it often makes it less effective. You must ask yourself:
- Is your plan readily available to, and understandable by, elected officials, planning commission, staff, and the public?
- Does it contain photographs and illustrations to show exactly what the recommended outcomes should look like?
- Does it contain goals with links to specific action items (these links are critical)?
- Does it provide straightforward guidance on what the end results will be?
- Is it a realistic plan that guides the community step-by-step towards the vision you identified?"
The answer to all of these questions should be "yes." If not, we recommend that you look back at our last column, "Are We There Yet?" that explores the question "how do we get there?"
2. Make implementation a priority. A community's plan is not an end product. It is the roadmap to your city or town's future. Your plan is not serving your community if it sits on a shelf. It should be consulted regularly by citizens, developers, staff, planning commission members, and elected officials. When any development decision is contemplated, the plan should be the "go-to" resource for direction.
3. Know who's driving the bus. This is a two-parter (with point 4. Delegate). It's important to assign responsibility for specific parts of the plan implementation. This can be an individual or a department. It is also important to determine who's in charge of comparing development permit requests against the plan. Some communities have a check box (or similar system) on their permit review form to serve as a reminder of this part of the process.
These tasks are a critical responsibility you take on as a member of your planning commission. While your position is mostly advisory, you are in a position to keep the plan at the center of local decision-making.
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... article continues with:
5. Follow up;
6. Rely on relevant data for decision-making;
7. Learn to adapt;
8. Provide incentives;
9. Convert them; and
10. Celebrate successes.