AGENDA ITEM _________
OLYMPIA PLANNING COMMISSION
July 6, 2009
Comprehensive Plan Process/Imagine Olympia
RECOMMENDATION: Provide direction to staff regarding proposed Public Participation
Program and other associated elements of the 2011 Comprehensive
Plan update process.
RECOMMENDATION: The Land Use and Environment Committee has recommended a
broad participation process and a review of the entire plan.
STAFF CONTACT: Jan Weydemeyer, Senior Planner, CP&D
(360) 753–8592, email@example.com
ORIGINATED BY: Community Planning and Development
PRESENTERS: Jan Weydemeyer
ATTACHMENTS: 1. Draft Kick-off Event Program
2. 2030 Community Snapshot
3. Draft Table of Contents
SOURCE OF FUNDS: Potential cost items include: a kick-off event with a keynote speaker,
room, refreshments ($10,000), a professionally conducted survey
($17,000), an interactive website ($3,000-$5,000), and logo/brand
reproduction ($2,000), totaling approximately $34,000 for this year.
Council had previously budgeted $30,000 for the Comprehensive Plan
update. Additional funds will have to be considered as part of the 2010
COMMITTEE REVIEW: The Land Use and Environment Committee reviewed the proposed
process proposals and provided feedback on January 26, 2009. The
Planning Commission reviewed and provided feedback at their February
Retreat. The City Council reviewed a preliminary proposal on
March 31, 2009, followed by in-depth “Imagine Olympia” concepts and
processes presented to the Council on June 16, 2009.
BACKGROUND: At its March 31st meeting, the City Council supported a conceptual
community engagement process. Since that meeting, staff refined the
concept and presented a preliminary Comprehensive Plan update
strategy to the City Council on June 16th.
The preliminary strategy includes a multi-faceted public participation
process, a 2030 Community Snapshot, a plan structure, and a plan
development schedule. This report focuses on the public participation
process; the other components of the strategy are included as
Guiding Principles for the Comprehensive Plan Update
1. Infuse the plan with sustainability principles
2. Generate widespread public involvement (2% to 8% or 1,000 to
3. Engage a broad cross section of the public through a wide variety of
means and at a variety of levels
4. Create partnerships and collaborations to support the planning
process and future implementation
5. Create an implementation plan
6. Maintain and encourage a regional perspective
7. Incorporate existing planning efforts into the process and build off
8. Use best available data to support decision making
9. Provide numerous opportunities for feedback from Council and the
Planning Commission, and
10. Have fun!
Proposed Public Participation Program
The 2011 update to the Comprehensive Plan offers an opportunity to
define a positive and proactive vision for Olympia that will guide many
future planning and land use decisions. The challenge will be to
engage the interest, and involve broad representation of Olympia’s
community. To ensure inclusion within the limits of time and budget, a
mix of techniques is proposed that will provide opportunities for the
entire city to be educated about and, provide feedback for, decision
making that reflects broad community viewpoint.
We anticipate using a variety of highly interactive approaches that
facilitate education, participation and communication including
web-based tools such as Survey Monkey, YouTube, LISTSERV, and other
social media. We also plan to use citizen led sessions focused on the
overall vision or a particular element of the plan. Process models for
this type of engagement include efforts like the current Cool Thurston
Campaign, based on David Gershon’s book Low Carbon Diet: A 30-Day
Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds, the Obama campaign’s Organizing for
America, and 2007’s Move On Civic Action Campaign.
Successful plan-making requires a collaborative relationship between
the general public, community representatives, decision-makers and
the planning team. An effective public participation program will
create confidence in the planning process, ensure that plan policies
have broad-based understanding and support, and reflect the interests
and needs of the community. The process should allow input from all,
reaching out to those often under-represented in the decision-making
process. Thus, Olympia’s Comprehensive Plan Update public
participation program is designed to fulfill four broad purposes:
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1. Educate the public about the purposes of the Comprehensive Plan
Update, its physical, economic, and social implications, its process,
and how to be involved.
2. Inform the public about planning issues, and critical trends that
may affect the City’s future such as projected growth, economic
development, sea level rise, transportation – land use linkage,
storm water management and shoreline management.
3. Provide opportunities for the vigorous discussion of, and effective
input regarding, issues, visions, planning principles, growth and
development scenarios, plan policies and programs.
4. Achieve public ownership of the implementation of the
The Comprehensive Plan is a policy document and City Council is the
elected policy making body. The City Council will participate
throughout the comprehensive planning process and provide frequent
feedback and guidance as policy options are explored. Public
participation will give the Council the opportunity to work closely with
citizens as a vision for the future of our community takes shape. City
Council will ultimately adopt the Comprehensive Plan by ordinance in
Finalized Public Participation Program
Following feedback on the Draft Public Participation Program from the
City Council, the Public Participation Program will be finalized with
opportunities for community members to participate in the process and
will be announced on the project website.
Proposed Public Participation Plan Components
Staff has developed a brand for the Comprehensive Plan update and
will present it at the June 16th City Council meeting.
Student interviews with people who live and work in Olympia will be
led by The Evergreen State College (TESC) faculty member Karen Gaul.
The students will interview a broad range of people about what they
value about the community and their perceptions, hopes and dreams
regarding Olympia’s future. The project will gather rich qualitative
data that can serve as an impetus to future engagement efforts.
Limited quantitative demographic data will also be collected.
Meet and Greet “Park” Strategy
Working with Public Works Parking Services, CP&D staff will convert
parking stalls downtown and at other locations throughout the
community to mini parks with grass, plants and benches between
mid-July and mid-August. CP&D interns will be present to connect one-
on-one with citizens who can respond to a questionnaire, pick up
brochures, and place their name on a sign-up sheet.
Booths at Events
CP&D plans to host a booth at community events, such as Lakefair and
Sand in the City. Citizens can make one-on-one connections with City
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staff/interns, pick up literature; respond to a questionnaire, place
their name on a sign-up sheet to learn more. Children can draw
pictures of their dreams for a future Olympia.
Staff proposes that City Council conduct a “kickoff event” to start the
Comprehensive Plan Update process and begin the community
involvement (See Attachment 1). It is an opportunity to establish a
positive communication tone and set the stage for upcoming events.
The kickoff event would feature a report on the results of the
“Community Conversations” as well as an overview of the projected
growth that will affect the community over the next 20 years.
Engaging a keynote speaker, such as David Gershon, with expertise in
community engagement and sustainability is also being explored.
Meeting in a Box
Over the summer we plan to develop meeting kits that will allow
individuals to host a meeting in their home, neighborhood or
organization. These kits will provide basic information about our
community’s expected growth as well as an overview and introduction
to the planning process. The results of these meetings will become one
of the building blocks of the planning process. Results would be
documented for use in subsequent public involvement events and
future work products, including analysis of opportunities and
Imagine Olympia Interactive Website
A Comprehensive Plan Update website will be developed and regularly
updated throughout the planning process. The website will be the
primary information source and will provide meeting dates, agendas
and meeting notes in a central, accessible location. It will also provide
access to meeting materials, reports, surveys and survey responses.
People may opt to receive periodic emails alerting them of new reports
or participation opportunities.
Surveys are a great tool to enable people to provide direct input and
for the planning team and decision-makers to receive feedback on
specific issues and proposals. Two surveys are proposed:
1. Internet-based; Entire City. The City will invite participation in an
internet-based survey on key planning issues and concerns.
2. Random Phone Survey. A professionally conducted 15-minute
length phone survey with 400 to 600 completed responses will be
prepared as part of assessment of issues and concerns. The survey
population will be matched with Olympia’s demographic profile,
and statistically valid results will be provided.
Community workshops held in neighborhood schools will provide forums
for education and brainstorming. Workshops will use innovative
participation techniques to maximize opportunities for input, and will
let citizens know that the input has been considered in the planning
process. Small-group facilitated tabletop discussions will be preceded
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by an open house and introductory presentation. Eight workshops are
City staff will prepare a “traveling roadshow kit” that enables staff or
“community ambassadors” to serve as facilitators of community
involvement efforts. The kit will include presentation materials to
describe the process and purpose of the Comprehensive Plan Update,
facilitate a discussion of issues, and announce upcoming opportunities
for further input and information.
An important step in the public participation process is establishing
contact with key constituencies in Olympia and providing them with
information about the process and opportunities to provide feedback.
Examples of the stakeholder groups may include: community groups,
City Boards and Commissions, building industry groups, environmental
organizations, and the Chamber of Commerce. City Council could take
a leadership role in providing these briefings. Meetings with
stakeholders could cover topics such as land use, environmental
protection, sea level rise adaptation, energy conservation,
development and design standards, signs, affordable housing, and
Children and Youth Programs
As an initial involvement step, at the kick-off event children will
present poems and stories about their hopes for Olympia in the future.
One of the most effective techniques for public outreach will be the
involvement of local schools, in which children participate directly and
serve as the conduit of information to their parents. An engaging
curriculum will explore students’ perceptions of community issues and
visions for the future; and, educate them about City planning, urban
design, and their role in civic life. Our youth will be key participants in
implementing the Comprehensive Plan over the long term. It is their
future we are planning for.
City staff will coordinate with the Olympia and North Thurston School
Districts to develop a program for classroom use at varying grade
levels, which would also be made available to private schools in
Press and Media Releases
Press and media releases will be prepared and distributed to local
media in advance of public forums. Editors and writers for local
newspapers will be encouraged to publish articles about the planning
process, key issues, options, and recommended policies and programs.
Local cable television outlets will be encouraged to broadcast live or
taped public forums.
City Council/Planning Commission Meetings or Joint Study Sessions
Periodic progress and issue meetings with the City Council and Planning
Commission as desired.
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Plan Update/ Imagine Olympia Schedule
Meeting in a Box September-Dec 2009
Neighborhood meetings January-March 2010
Prepare a scoping document March /April
Present scope to Planning Commission March
Present refined scope to LUEC April
Present scope to City Council May
Formal scoping for EIS June (30 days)
May- November Draft plan elements
July – November Draft EIS analysis
Release draft to public/issue DEIS January 2011
Neighborhood meetings January-March
Issue FEIS March
Planning Commission hearings April
Rewrite elements/issue addendum May-July
City Council hearings September/October
Ordinance adoption November/December
ANALYSIS AND OPTIONS:
Option 1: Provide feedback and direction to staff to move forward the process
as described herein.
It has been many years since the Comprehensive Plan has been
substantively updated. The current interest in the plan, emerging
environmental constraints and state mandate to update the plan
provide impetus and opportunity for this effort.
Option 2: Provide feedback and direction to staff to limit the update to the
minimum necessary to comply with GMA requirements.
The Comprehensive Plan continues to provide a clear vision for the
community and a broad update is unnecessary.
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