The City established a proactive public involvement process for the development of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and its components. The procedure brought together diverse stakeholder viewpoints and values early into the decision-making process, enabling a common vision to make informed decisions, improve quality through collaborative efforts and build mutual understanding and trust between the City and the public it serves.
The effectiveness of a plan depends upon its success in meeting the expectations of the public. Plans need to be reassessed periodically to determine if the public’s evolving needs and expectations are adequately being met. This procedure ensures that the public will be kept informed of activities and given meaningful opportunities to participate in the development and review of public plans and policy.
Public participation goal and policies: The comprehensive planning process seeks to provide to the public complete information, timely notice, and full access to key decisions and shall support early and continuing involvement of the public.
Policy 1: The City will provide the public with timely notice and reasonable access to information about physical development issues and processes.
Policy 2: The City will create opportunities for the public to become informed about issues and proposals under consideration.
Policy 3: The City will share with the public the tasks of identifying concerns, developing alternatives and evaluating policies to address the concerns.
Policy 4: The City will be diligent in its follow-up to public requests for information and further participation.
Policy 5: The City will listen and respond to suggestions made by the public.
Policy 6: The City will foster candid information exchanges and ongoing two-way communication using a variety of media.
Procedures for public participation in each phase of Comprehensive Planning
The public participation process informs and encourages citizens to be involved during each phase of the comprehensive planning process. It is the responsibility of the City Plan Commission through the Department of City Development staff to conduct the following planning phases and public participation actions:
Phase 1: Analysis Phase
Department staff will obtain a complete demographic profile of the city and get a sense of the city’s strengths, weaknesses, issues, and opportunities.
Action 1: Create one or more Plan Advisory Groups comprised of elected officials, government representatives, and key public stakeholders.
Action 2: Create and maintain a master list of participants, updating as needed.
Action 3: Create a website.
Action 4: Post information about the planning process, meeting dates and working documents on the Department website. This information may also be included in a newsletter.
Action 5: Hold public meetings. Keep meeting sign-in sheets and summaries of the meeting.
Phase 2: Visioning Phase
Department staff will assess which services and types of development are considered most important to the community; staff will prioritize issues to address and strengths on which to build.
Action 1: Schedule one or more public workshops.
Action 2: Notify the public of upcoming workshops at least 15 days in advance. Notices can take the form of direct invitations, press releases, Department website postings, or newsletters. Notices shall include date, time, location, purpose and key contact person.
Action 3: Hold one or more public workshops. Keep workshop sign-in sheets.
Action 4: Prepare workshop summaries. Summaries will be made available to interested individuals upon request and will be posted on the Department website. This information may also be included in a newsletter. Note: Suggestions made by participants are not considered public testimony; however, they shall be considered prior to drafting recommendations.
Phase 3: Synthesis Phase
Department staff will incorporate the public’s vision into document form, translating the public’s desire into statements of goals, policies, and land use recommendations.
Action 1: Post the Draft Plan on the Department website.
Action 2: Schedule one or more public open houses.
Action 3: Notify the public of upcoming public open houses at least 15 days in advance. Notices can take the form of direct invitations or press releases and can be included on the Department website or in a newsletter. Notices shall include date, time, location, purpose, and key contact person, as well as instructions on how to obtain a digital and/or written copy of the Draft Plan.
Action 4: Hold an open house. Keep open house sign-in sheets.
Action 5: Document oral and written comments and suggestions made by participants. This documentation will be available to interested individuals upon request and will be posted on the Department website. This information may also be included in a newsletter.
Action 6: Further encourage written comments on the Draft Plan through mail, fax, or e-mail. Include information on the deadline for submitted written comments and testimony.
Action 7: Review and consider written and oral comments received. Revise the Draft Plan as needed. The Final Draft Plan will be made available to interested individuals upon request and will be posted on the Department’s website. Portions of the Final Draft Plan may also be included in a newsletter.
Phase 4: Formal Review and Approval
Department staff will present the Final Draft Plan to the public, allowing the elected officials, public, and staff to exchange dialogue. A public hearing will be held for public review and comment before City Plan Commission, followed by the statutorily-required hearing at the Council's Zoning, Neighborhoods, and Development Committee.
Action 1: Prepare a resolution approving the City’s Comprehensive Plan for the City Plan Commission and an ordinance approving the City’s Comprehensive Plan for the Common Council. Have the ordinance introduced at Common Council.
Action 2: Schedule a City Plan Commission public hearing.
Action 3: Notify all recorded interested parties of the upcoming City Plan Commission public hearing. Simultaneously, post the agenda on the Department website.
Action 4: Publish the public notice announcing the required Zoning, Neighborhoods, and Development Committee public hearing for the adoption of the plan as a class 1 notice, pursuant to Ch. 985.02(1) Wis. Stats at least 30 days prior to the hearing. The class 1 notice shall include the following:
- The date, time and place of the hearing.
- A summary of the Final Draft Plan with Plan Commission amendments, if any.
- The name of the City representative who may provide additional information regarding the Final Draft Plan.
- Information on where and when a copy of the Final Draft Plan may be viewed prior to the hearing and how a copy of the plan may be obtained.
- The deadline for submitting written comments.
Action 5: Make copies of the Final Draft Plan available for viewing by the general public at the same time as the public hearing notice is published. The Final Draft Plan shall be available for review at the Legislative Reference Bureau, 200 E Wells and on the Department website. Black and white copies of the Final Draft Plan shall be made available to interested individuals upon request. Once the written comment period has ended, all written comments should be sent to the City Clerk for inclusion into the committee file.
Action 6: Hold the City Plan Commission pubic hearing. Keep sign-in sheets.
Action 7: Write up a general description of public comments heard at the hearing. Forward comments along with the adopted resolution to the Zoning, Neighborhoods, and Development Committee.
Action 8: Prepare and conduct a presentation for the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee, summarizing the planning process and key provisions of the Final Draft Plan. Respond to the received written comments and oral testimony.
Action 9: Hold the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee public hearing and respond to the received written comments and oral testimony.
Action 10: Document all public testimony and written comments submitted at the hearings as part of the record.
Action 11: Submit the Final Draft Plan with City Plan Commission and Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee amendments, if any, to Common Council for adoption.
Action 12: Once the plan is adopted by the Common Council, incorporate all City Plan Commission, Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee, and Common Council amendments. Post the Adopted Plan on the Department’s website. Send a copy of the ordinance and Adopted Plan to the distribution list.
Public participation in committees
Members of the public will also be involved in managing the development of the plans.
The Citywide Plan Advisory Group and Citywide Technical Working Groups will include representatives from non-profit organizations, area institutions, the business community, neighborhood organizations, and homeowners.