Residents will have the ability to participate in Gardner’s comprehensive planning process thru both traditional and a web-based outreach program, members of the Comprehensive Planning Action Committee were told at their first workshop Oct. 14.
CPAC, which is part of the ongoing city “visioning process,” is being facilitated by  Houseal Lavigne Associates to complete a comprehensive plan update. The council approved about $85,000 for the update last August as part of the city budget. Updating the plan has been discussed since early 2012, with one-on-one meetings between city staff and community leaders/business owners, but began to take formal shape after a January 2013 “visioning” workshop. The council workshop featured keynote speakers from the metro-area regarding transportation, demographics, economic development and growth strategy.
The core advisory group is made up of 20 community members – with each council member suggesting three. Members include former elected officials, business owners, USD 231 staff and residents.
“I have some definite thoughts and visions about the future of this community,” said Shirley Bruce Brown- VanArsdale, Bruce Funeral Home. “As a business owner, I hope that my input will be valuable. I am concerned about the growth of Gardner and how it will impact the core of downtown.”
In addition to the core members CPAC will allow for additional resident input thru web-based outreach thru the city’s website.
“We are committed to utilizing the internet to maximize the participation and communication between the city, CPAC, and residents,” according to a presentation by Houseal Lavigne. Information provided on the website could include integrating the city’s website with social networking, an interactive on-line community issues map, on-line questionnaires for residents and businesses and a community character assessment survey.
“The website will be the one place to go for information regarding the updated Comprehensive Plan,” Houseal Lavigne information says.
Topics covered by CPAC include:
Introduction, which will describe the community’s history and comphrensive plan background, overall purpose of CPAC, planning process undertaken by the city and the organization of the plan document.
Community Profile and Assessment, which describes existing conditions
Community Outreach, which summarizes results of community outreach activities
Community Vision, Goals and Objectives, which provides community vison and the plans goals and objectives
Land-use and Development Plan, which establishes and reviews land use designations
Regional Coordination, growth strategy and annexation framework plan, which will present policies and recommendations to growth
Transportation and Mobility plan, which will present policies and recommendations related to access, traffic, parking etc.
Open Space, Recreation, Environmental Features Plan, which will present policies and recommendations about enhancing and maintaining parks and open spaces
Community Facilities and Infrastructure Plan, which will provide a detailed inventory of community facilities
Community Design Plan, which will provide recommendations related to character and image
Sustainability Framework Plan, which will provide a foundation for sustainability
Economic Development and Implementation Strategy, which will describe specific actions required to carry out the new Comprehensive Plan.