I mentioned earlier that the Olympia Planning Commission (OPC) is working with the city staff on the update for the Olympia Comprehensive Plan. The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires that the comprehensive plan contain a public involvement through which the desires of the public in the jurisdiction in question are discovered. The OPC and the city staff decided that the Imagine Olympia meetings and the ten focus meetings that followed would serve as the initial thrust of involving the public in the comprehensive plan’s update. Through these meetings, hundreds of people responded to specific and general questions about their dear Olympia. After these meetings were concluded the city staff reviewed the responses, analyzed and compressed them, and finally published them in large document. That document is (caution huge .pdf) here, but a more manageable summary is here. You really need to read both if you want a basic comprehension of the responses that the city is working from. If you only read the summary, you will only get a…summary. This is particularly important because the larger document contains the city’s methodology in how they came to terms with the huge amount of data they received from this process.
The city’s analysis of the data from these meetings led them to the conclusion that they should concentrate their efforts into several larger topics that may or may not transcend specific chapters that the GMA mandates in the plan. Over the summer, the OPC Comprehensive Plan Update Subcommittee (CPU) worked with the city staff coordinated by Stacey Ray and the Subcommittee Chair*, Jeanne Marie Thomas to organize a series of briefings (i.e. the city staff giving white papers to the CPU) on these topics. There were at least two meetings during which the CPU decided which topics should be considered, when the briefings should occur, and how much time should be allotted to each particular topc.
Tonight’s meeting (agenda here) will include the latest of those briefings, covering the topics listed below. Each is linked to their respective white papers that the relevant city staff member drafted.
- Density and Growth in Growth Areas Not Served by Utilities
- The Role and Balance of Sustainability in City Decision-Making
- City Investment in the Promotion and Facilitation of Green Building, Infrastructure, and Locally-Generated Renewable Energy
Keep in mind that these are briefing topics only; they may or may not result in a revision to the comprehensive plan. The primary consideration for updating the comprehensive plan is compliance with the GMA, not the topics that get the most attention in public comments although these considerations would complement each other in an ideal scenario.
Tonight is the next leg of a tepid journey that will one day result in the city council adopting a comprehensive plan that is compliant with the GMA and reflective of the residents’ hopes and dreams for the future of their city.
*Jeanne Marie Thomas has resigned as Chair and Rob Richards will assume those responsibilities no later than January 1, 2012.