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Community Visioning

Community visioning is a planning tool that enables residents, business owners, local institutions, and other stakeholders to have a voice in the decision-making process in their community. A community visioning statement will communicate the goals and priorities of the community and ideally inform future planning documents, regulations, and future development.

Introduction

The key decision-making entities in a municipality are often the planning board, zoning officers, and other municipal and county officials. The community visioning process, where residents, business owners, local institutions, and other stakeholders express ideas about the future of the community, offers a valuable additional voice to guide decision-making and influence development choices in the community. Through public meetings, design charrettes, public surveys, and growth scenario comparisons, community visioning can clarify the goals and vision of the community. As a result of the visioning process, planning documents and zoning and subdivision regulations can be tailored to match the community vision. Most importantly, the extensive public involvement in the community vision leads to a sense of community-wide ownership and buy-in in planning documents and projects.

The community visioning process should be tailored to meet the needs and specific dynamics of each individual community. The following describes key principles and activities found in a typical community visioning process.

The Basics of Community Visioning

Municipalities Planning Code (MPC)

In Pennsylvania, public meetings are required as part of the Municipal Planning Code (MPC) for a variety of planning activities, such as: comprehensive planning documents, amendments or adoption of zoning and subdivision and land development ordinances, an official map, and a transportation capital improvements plan. Clearly, the code recognizes the value of public input and a transparent planning process. However, there is no requirement in the MPC for a formal community visioning process, as described here.

Initiating the Process

Sometimes, the community visioning process begins reactively, when a project, such as a large retail store, utility expansion, or subdivision proposal, prompts community opposition. At this point, one or more community groups attempt to halt or change the provisions of a project to eliminate a land use change they find unacceptable. This “reactive” circumstance invariably pits groups in opposition, which rarely achieves a harmonious result. A reactive situation of this type may alert the community to the need for community planning through the visioning process and have a positive outcome, such as in Damariscotta, Maine, the first study in the case study section.

A more effective approach to community planning is to initiate a proactive public involvement process before development pressures or land use conflicts become a community-wide issue. This approach allows the community to mitigate the potential impacts and consequences of the existing municipal land use policies before the consequences are imminent. This forward-looking approach allows the community to lead the development process, rather than simply react to it. 

End Product

A community vision is a written statement that reflects the goals and objectives of the community, lists future opportunities, and includes a description of what the community should look and feel like in the future. The community vision statement guides government, business, and residential entities, among others, in decision-making according to the stated goals and objectives of the community. 

Community Opinion

The visioning process is conducted to enable the community to influence development within its boundaries. In many instances, municipal officials speak for the community as elected-representative. Zoning codes and subdivision regulations dictate the type of growth permitted within municipal boundaries. Utilities plan for infrastructure expansion to support growth areas. Regional entities plan roadway expansion areas. The community visioning process adds an additional voice to these decision-making processes to represent a wide stakeholder group. 

Community visioning is done by the community, for the benefit of the community. The term “community” in this context can mean a municipality, neighborhood, business district, county, several municipalities or any group that shares a common interest; the community visioning principles are constant regardless of the geographic boundaries.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the community visioning process typically include residents, resident and business associations, non-profits, schools and institutions, youth groups, and government entities. The more groups involved in the visioning process, the more the resulting vision will be comprehensive and truly representative of community interests and goals.

Steering Committee

The visioning process is typically shepherded by a steering committee comprised of municipal, resident, and business representatives, among others. The steering committee can be formed in many ways, from grassroots community members meeting informally to municipal officials and planners encouraging citizen participation. Often the municipality may initiate the planning process and form the steering committee as a first step in the process by reaching out to local leadership in the residential and business communities. The steering committee is responsible for encouraging community participation, running meetings, promoting the visioning process, and guiding implementation actions.

Visioning Process

As previously mentioned, the visioning process can be a reactive or proactive process. Community groups, government entities, institutions, or residents often realize the need for the visioning process when it becomes clear that development pressure and conservation needs are increasing and planning documents and regulations do not reflect the current priorities of the community. While there is no set formula for how a community visioning process is initiated, the following elements are typically included.

Define Community Boundaries

A community can be defined at any geographic level, including a neighborhood, a business district, a transportation corridor, an entire municipality, a watershed, a valley, or several municipalities. The community boundary dictates which stakeholders to include in the visioning process as well as the geographic extent of the visioning exercises. The key is to draw a boundary that will include all those that share a common interest and are impacted by common issues and planning decisions on a local, county, or regional level.

Form Leadership Group

The visioning process is often led by government entities or private consultants hired by the local planning board as part of a comprehensive planning process. These groups typically oversee the formation of the steering committee for the visioning process. It is essential to include local leadership and representatives in the decision-making process. The community visioning steering committee should include residents, business-owners, elected officials, and representatives from youth, non-profit, and other interest groups. Representatives from each stakeholder group should be invited to an initial project kick-off meeting to mark the beginning of the process and to jointly set a timeline and tentative tasks. 

Inventory Community Resources

A key part of the visioning process is to inform the goals and objectives of the community by taking inventory of the existing features. This is best done in a public meeting or charrette setting. For instance, stakeholders should list locations they like, dislike, or would like to change. Resource types that might be involved in this analysis include public facilities, recreation areas, natural lands, and any other place or asset of value to the community. Stakeholders should note if there is a community resource that is lacking, the locations of favorite and least favorite places in the community, and areas for potential development or conservation. The inventory will serve as the basis for identifying the goals and objectives for the community and priorities for community growth and will inform the community vision scenarios.

Analyze Resources and Form Potential Development Scenarios

During the visioning process, stakeholders will identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) for the community. Throughout this process, community leaders will discuss potential development scenarios. These scenarios can include any scenario devised by the participants, such as the build-out of a residential community, preservation of remaining developable land, or industrial development along existing freight infrastructure. Scenario planning tools, such as CommunityViz® software, can be used to assist communities in identifying the population, employment, environmental, and fiscal impacts of these scenario-based outcomes. As distinct scenario concepts are identified and presented to the public, community members will work together to choose a preferred scenario during a public workshop.

Write and Adopt Community Vision Statement

Once a preferred scenario for potential development in the community is identified, the steering committee should draft a Community Vision Statement that identifies and explains specific goals for the community, and expands upon how the preferred development scenario satisfies those goals. The vision statement should be broad in scope and clear in vision, as it will be used by government agencies, non-profit entities, and community groups to guide development and operations decisions. The statement should include a description of the development patterns and existing conditions in the municipality, and details about the visioning process, municipal development regulations, and the goals and objectives of the community. The draft vision statement should be presented to the steering committee and stakeholders for review and, after incorporating comments from these entities, adopted by the municipality. The vision statement should also be adopted by key entities, such as institutions, the school board, business and resident associations, and other main groups in the community, to ensure that land use and operations decisions by all major entities will operate along the guidelines of the visioning statement.

Develop and Implement Action Plan

The visioning process and vision statement are essential planning tools that allow a community to clearly articulate their values. However, these tools are not effective until implemented. The steering committee should work with the municipality and other stakeholders to craft specific action items by key entities, such as community groups, business associations, non-profit entities, and varying levels of government. A detailed action plan should identify and prioritize specific projects, assign responsible parties for each action item, include a timeline, detail potential funding sources, and list supporting agencies with the goal of including all decision-making entities in the community. Examples of implementation actions include additional zoning provisions to accommodate conservation priorities or increased density in the business district and amended comprehensive planning documents, like future land use maps and the official map, to include community goals and priorities. Non-municipal advocates of the community vision statement, such as a university or school district, could commit to future development that is compatible with the scale and layout of the existing community and is within walking or transit distance to the downtown corridor, or other actions that reflect the vision statement.

Key Ingredients for Community Visioning

Local Leadership

Leadership representing many stakeholder groups ensures participation from varying community groups as well as steering committee accountability to the public during the community visioning process. The process of community visioning is never the same in each community; each starts out with its own unique issues and initiating parties. It is essential to include as many community groups or representatives as possible to get the most informed community vision statement. As more groups participate in the leadership process, there is a higher probability of public involvement and local buy-in in the implementation process.

Community Participation

Maximum community participation is necessary for a successful visioning process and will ensure public acceptance, support and follow-up once the planning process reaches the implementation stage. The steering committee should promote community participation by advertising the community visioning events along with examples of how community visioning can help a municipality. Examples of public outreach actions to promote community participation include:

  • Public surveys
  • A community visioning website
  • A community visioning site on a social networking site
  • One-on-one stakeholder interviews
  • Public workshops and/or design charrettes
  • Comment boxes at local libraries and government buildings

The effectiveness of community participation depends on the turnout of residents at the meeting as well as the issues of each specific municipality. For example, if there growth is not likely for the community and/or there are few issues of concern, it may be more difficult to get high turnout at visioning events. However, if there is a contentious local planning issue and the community participation event will address these issues at a well-publicized event during evening or weekend hours, the event will likely be successfully. The methods presented here should be used in concert, particularly because each method may appeal to a different user groups. Those with little time during the evenings may opt for an on-line option or a written survey to respond to visioning concepts at odd hours. In contrast, those with more time may choose to attend day-long charrettes or evening community workshops. All events and participation tools should be advertised in the local paper and on the municipal website to garner as much input as possible. Examples of a press release, community visioning website, design charrette questionnaire, are referenced in the Resource Guide section of this piece. (Photo Credit: Friends of MidCoast Maine)

Open Outcome

Participants in the community visioning process should not enter the experience expecting a specific outcome. Though particular stakeholder groups may represent singular interests, the visioning process and the resulting vision statement will reflect the goals, objectives, and development outlook of the entire community. The steering committee should encourage all viewpoints, even the most extreme, particularly in the scenario-building portion of the process.

Regional Perspective

The visioning process should reflect the surrounding neighborhoods, land uses, and municipalities. The vision statement should reflect an awareness of the context of the community. Key points to keep in mind include regional and local infrastructure, pedestrian and vehicle networks, and land use conflicts in adjacent communities. 

Financial Support

The visioning process requires running public meetings, which typically include paid advertising in the local newspaper, light refreshments, rental of meeting space, and printing costs. Though these features are not required as part of the visioning process, they will likely lead to increased participation. Grants and municipal funding are available for community planning and visioning tasks from County, state, and federal sources. Funding sources are listed in the resource section at the conclusion of this piece.

Role of Consultant

Though hiring a consultant is not required for a community visioning process to be successful, a planning or community participation consultant can be of great assistance with the technical aspects such as CommunityViz® and community participation strategies for the process. A consultant can also produce graphic renderings of development techniques, inform the steering committee about development options under existing zoning and potential zoning changes, and advise on potential funding strategies towards implementation of the visioning statement. Several consultant contacts and entities that have worked with consultant teams in the visioning process are listed in the Tool Experts portion of this piece.

Visioning Techniques

Charrette

A charrette is a public gathering where participants break into small groups to discuss and work through community planning concepts. The groups then present their ideas to the larger group and concepts are clarified and consolidated. Charrettes may vary in length from several hours to several days and involve residents, developers, municipal officials, and other stakeholder groups. The goal of a charrette is to work through planning issues, address all viewpoints, diffuse potential conflicts between stakeholders, and promote joint ownership of the resulting solutions. The charrette process in community visioning should ideally occur at the scenario-building stage. The conclusion of a charrette should involve a set of agreed-upon goals and objectives for the community and several principles to guide the scenario building process.

Scenario Building

Scenario building is an essential piece of the visioning process. The first step in scenario building is to lead stakeholders in a charrette focused on forming a vision of the community in five, ten, and twenty years into the future. The process should be based on conceptual goals and objectives for the community, as determined by the steering committee and public outreach earlier in the planning process.

The scenario building process should include all ideas for the future of the community and should not be limited by the constraints of existing development regulations, existing zoning, or typical development types. Each scenario should be presented to the larger group and the goal should be reaching consensus on one scenario. This process is often aided by visualizing how the scenario will affect the landscape of the community as well as the fiscal impacts of additional infrastructure and other development costs using graphic representation and impact analysis software. Once a scenario is chosen, the steering committee can draft the community vision statement.

Graphic Representation

Clear graphic representation of planning concepts is essential to visualizing development concepts and promoting public understanding of technical planning principles like zoning changes, development density, and setbacks. CommunityViz® software is one tool that can be used within the visioning process to show the massing, design, and impacts of development decisions. Another less technical tool is showing before and after photos of buildings, development with differing densities, signage, roadways, and other planning typologies and asking the charrette groups to comment on and rank the scenarios they see as appropriate for future growth in the community. Using photographs from the pedestrian and vehicular perspective enables participants to relate to potential development scenarios, as they may have trouble visualizing scenarios using maps alone.

CommunityViz®

CommunityViz® is a software package that works with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to project and analyze development scenarios using existing data, such as roadways, existing buildings, land use, zoning densities, and conservation areas. Once existing data is mapped, the user can make a series of decisions about land use, density, potential zoning to form one or more development scenarios. For instance, the scenario-builder can graphically show the public how potential changes may impact the physical form of the community, such as what it would look to maintain a constant 3% residential growth rate, to reduce commercial setbacks on Main Street, or to add a low-density conservation overlay district in an endangered habitat area. The result of a CommunityViz® scenario is both graphic and data-oriented, as it produces tables showing the impacts of growth based on municipal infrastructure usage values. The program can calculate the traffic impact of re-zoning forty acres from industrial to commercial or the utility or school demand of a new residential development. Providing these graphic and quantitative features is one way to clarify the results of scenario concepts in the community visioning process.  (Photo Credit: Orton Foundation)

One constraint to the CommunityViz® program is the financial commitment and learning time for both the CommunityViz® and the basic Geographic Information Systems program, ArcGIS®. This cost and time commitment is one reason to use either a qualified municipal planner or consultant planner with experience on these programs.

Case Studies

Millersville, PA

The Borough of Millersville is a rural college town five miles southwest of the city of Lancaster in south-central Pennsylvania. The Borough consists of Millersville University, residential neighborhoods, a downtown business district and rural properties. The visioning process began in early 2008, as members of the community and the Borough Council came together to form the Vision 20/20 Committee. According to the Borough Council President Scott Bailey, the Borough did not have the typical “big development issue” that spurs many communities towards the visioning process. Participants instead initiated pro-active planning by defining a vision in advance of development pressures that could contrast to the existing character of the Borough. 

The Borough Council worked with the PA Downtown Center and a steering committee of local stakeholder groups to lead the visioning process, which included five public meetings, a vision statement, and a five-year action plan. The funding for the process was provided by Millersville University, Penn Manor School District, Millersville Area Business Association, and Millersville Borough, and each of these entities were key stakeholders in the process.

The Borough Council unanimously approved the community vision statement in November of 2008. The statement included such priorities as Millersville University students working to become fully engaged members of the community, green initiatives to help make the neighborhood more ecologically-friendly, enhancements in the business district to include small community stores, galleries, and gathering places, and encouraging the principles of life-long learning, growing, and neighborly cooperation.

Following the adoption of the visioning statement by the Borough Council, the committee moved towards the action plan phase of the visioning process. Once the Community Vision Statement was adopted by the Borough Council, the Vision 20/20 Committee organized several issue-oriented sub-committees to set goals and timelines by subject area, including the Organizational Development, Physical Improvements, Asset Development & Enhancements, Community Marketing, and Safe, Clean & Green committees. The community is also exploring the possibility of forming a non-profit organization to implement the visioning statement.

The Vision 20/20 Committee started a Facebook page as a community bulletin board and advertising strategy. (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Millersville-PA/Vision-2020-Millersville/72120598473 - Inactive after 2012) This innovative community engagement strategy likely encouraged many technological-savvy residents and university students to get involved in the visioning process.

The Vision 20/20 Committee sought commitments to the vision statement from planning entities, government officials, and major institutions in the Borough. Several organizations signed the Community Vision Statement in April 2009, including: PA State Representative Boyd, PA State Senator Smucker, and representatives from the PA Downtown Center, Millersville Ministerium, Millersville Business Association, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and Millersville Borough.

A key lesson that can be learned from this case study is that pro-active planning that includes even unconventional partners, such as university employees and students and state government representatives, can encourage accountability in the visioning process. Though this project has not yet reached the implementation stage, the signed agreement binds each participant to the tenets of the visioning statement.

Hazlet Township, NJ

Hazlet Township in Monmouth County, NJ, is a residential community with a population of 21,000 and a major transportation hub in central New Jersey, with a Garden State Parkway exit, State Routes 35 and 36 to the Jersey Shore, a NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line rail stop, and several major commuter bus lines to New York City. The Township faces several planning challenges, including heavy summer traffic, vacant commercial land, disjointed pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and the need for multi-municipal cooperation in preservation of wetlands and open space.

In 2008, the Township Committee responded to the traffic issues, disinvestment along the Route 36 corridor, and general agreement among Township officials that a new vision was required to re-shape the Township. The Committee applied to the NJ Office of Smart Growth for a grant for a visioning plan. In 2009, the Township was awarded a grant to prepare a Community Visioning Plan “to guide and control development and set priorities for land preservation, recreation and other public amenities.” (Hazlet 2030 Press Release, Jeff Tyler, Hazlet Township Planning Board Chairman). 

The steering committee for Hazlet 2030 includes Township officials, the Office of Smart Growth, the NJ Department of Transportation, NJ Transit, Monmouth County, the Board of Education, and local community groups. The effort is being led by the Township along with a planning consultant and began with a series of four day long workshops to address key issues in the Township. The process focused on the Township as a whole, as well as four key focus areas that were identified as part of the Master Plan Reexamination Report process, held prior to the visioning process. At first, the amount of public participation did not reflect the gravity of the issues in the Township; however, after extensive advertising, word-of-mouth, and the formation of a comprehensive website for the visioning process, additional community members participated in the second workshop and subsequent events. 

Visioning tools used during the process include surveys and questionnaires, mapping exercises to encourage smart growth-oriented development scenarios, a community vision survey, the municipal website, workshops, an open house, and a public meeting. One tool used that was particularly effective was showing examples of streetscapes during a public workshop and asking the audience to choose the preferred look for Hazlet Township. This exercise kicked off a conversation about traffic, walking and bicycling, and important streetscape features and also helped identify priorities for the vision statement.

The outcome of the visioning process will be presented at a public meeting in February 2010. Draft visioning products include eleven major goals for the Township, along with coordinated indicators and actions for each goal. For instance, for Goal #1: Smart Development and Redevelopment, an indicator is new mixed-used development and the associated action items include using amended zoning and incentives to encourage pedestrian-scale, mixed-use development and redevelopment in the Township and encouraging redevelopment through Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

A key lesson to learn from this case study is that a municipal-run visioning process with many state-level steering committee members can encourage concrete goal, action item, and responsibility statements to aid in the implementation of the action plan. The participation by these entities increases the accountability and probability of successful implementation. 

Pike County, PA

Community visioning sometimes happens as a part of multiple planning processes and over a period of several years. Pike County in northeastern Pennsylvania is an area with high development pressure due to the close proximity to New Jersey and the commuter residential market of New York City. The total population of Pike County increased 56.7% from 1990 – 2000. (Pike County Visioning: 1998 to 2020, A Final Report). Of additional note, more than half of the land area of Pike County is part of the federal or state park systems.

Issues and challenges in Pike County were the subject of the 1995 International Countryside Stewardship Exchange, during which rural development professionals from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom visited Pike County to explore the local issues and recommend findings and recommendations for future development. The Exchange Team found that local citizens were not fully engaged in the decision making process and recommended a community visioning process. As a result of these recommendations, three visioning workshops were conducted in 1995 where participants rated the importance of several planning issues. Environmental resource protection, regional planning and zoning, and preservation of historic resources received the rankings of most important issues, along with education, health care, and economic diversity.

A subsequent planning effort was initiated in 1997 by the County Commissioners and the Office of Community Planning and Human Development to build upon the 1995 effort and “enable Pike County to successfully enter the 21st Century and meet the parameter of sustainable growth and development while still maintain the quality of life that the residents of Pike County expect.” (Pike County Visioning: 1998 to 2020, A Final Report) The initial outreach meeting, in September 1998, included more than 100 Pike County residents as part of the process and six task forces were established to study the following issues in detail: economic development, quality of life, environment, government, infrastructure, and land use. The County dedicated staff time to the effort to assist the Visioning Benchmark Committee, which was created to the guide the visioning process as well as the implementation of the vision statement and included representatives from each task force, the County Commissioners, and the County Council of Governments. Each task force created a report detailing the issues, goals and objectives, and implementation benchmarks in the respective subject areas. Task forces used public survey, strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat analysis, and research into existing development patterns and public opinions to craft recommendations. These reports were combined to form the final report, Pike County Visioning: 1998 to 2020 – The Final Report, which was reviewed and adopted by the County Commissioners. A key phrase used in the report is “Growth is inevitable, quality is planned.”

The goals, objectives, and implementation strategies identified in these visioning exercises provided the basis for the 2006 Pike County Comprehensive Plan, and the Visioning Benchmark Committee was included as part of the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Board. 

A key lesson to take from this case study is that resident interest and County leadership over time can keep community visioning goals active over time and greatly impact planning documents and decisions. 

Damariscotta, ME

The town of Damariscotta, Maine, faces many planning issues typical to many older communities: integrating new commercial development in a traditional commercial corridor; managing historic resources; and allowing growth without compromising the small-town character of the town. Residents of Damariscotta first realized their small-town identity was unprotected by the planning process when, in 2005, Wal-Mart proposed a store in the town of locally owned establishments. The town reacted to the proposal by passing a 35,000 square foot retail size cap, temporarily halting the large-scale retail development. In 2007, the town formed the Damariscotta Planning Advisory Committee (DPAC) to “foster a community visioning process, establishing and maintaining an ongoing long-range strategic planning process and monitoring implementation, incorporating and promoting public dialogue about community and regional planning…”  

The DPCA and the Friends of Midcoast Maine worked with the town government and the Orton Family Foundation to lead the community visioning process. The DPAC is the key leadership organization for the visioning process, which will inform the objectives and recommendations for the required update of the Damariscotta Comprehensive Plan. The goal is to translate the community vision into planning and development guidelines that will reflect the views and priorities of the community. DPAC organized one-on-one interviews, public forums, and workshops, and produced a website and maps to illustrate planning concepts.

From the onset of the planning process in 2008, the DPAC led community forums on bike and pedestrian issues, shore and harbor issues, and new growth. In May 2009, the DPAC created a survey to gather input from citizens on the strengths and weaknesses of the town. In spring 2009, the leadership team began forming planning scenarios in CommunityViz® to illustrate the concepts and drafting a vision statement. In October 2009, DPAC led a four-day charrette to discuss the priorities of the town, planning and development goals, and the impacts of potential development scenarios, including parking, retail impacts, green community space, façade improvements, improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and design guidelines for new development.

The process is funded by a Heart & Soul Community Planning grant, a cash match from the town and the Friends of Midcoast Maine, in-kind services from volunteer DPAC members, an Orton Family Foundation grant, and DPAC fundraising events.

The outcome of the planning process will be presented in the final planning document in early 2010. The resulting document will be a comprehensive vision statement, a set of goals and priorities for the plan, and a starting point for updating the town comprehensive plan and zoning and development codes.

Resource Guide

Visioning Tools and Examples:

Planning for the Future: A Handbook on Community Visioning offers several examples of visioning resources, including a workshop checklist, sample media release, sample flier, sample workshop agenda, and sample workshop sheets in appendices 3 through 7. Access these resources at the following link: http://www.rural.palegislature.us/visioning3.pdf

CommunityViz®

The CommunityViz® software enables a graphically enhanced and data driven visioning process. Samples of visioning and planning projects that use CommunityViz® can be explored via the CommunityViz Case Studies Web App.

Potential Funding Sources:

The PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) Land Use Planning Technical Assistance Program (LUPTAP) provides grants at a 50% match to update comprehensive plans and planning documents, which could include the visioning process in some instances. Please note that this program has limited funding and is highly competitive. More information at: http://dced.pa.gov/housing-and-development/community-planning/

The Orton Family Foundation helps small cities and towns navigate growth and change with CommunityViz and funds for the Heart & Soul Planning program. More information at: www.orton.org 

The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Technical Assistance Grant through the Community Conservation Partnership Program provides grants to develop, promote, and conduct training and educational programs for professionals and the general public regarding local, county, regional or statewide issues concerning recreation, park, conservation, natural areas, and open space. More information at: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/grants.  

Bibliography

The Snapper, weekly newspaper of Millersville University of Pennsylvania, “Community will embrace chance as 2020 approaches,” Don Brennan, December 3, 2008, accessed January 15, 2010.  This article describes the Millersville Borough Vision 20/20 process.

Hazlet Township Planning Board Website, “Hazlet 2030: A Vision for the Future,” accessed January 21, 2010, http://www.hazlettwp.org/generalinfo/hazlet2030/hazlet2030.html.  The Hazlet 2030 website is the digital home of the visioning process and all notes, press releases, graphics, presentation materials, and announcements about the Hazlet 2030 project are publicly available here.

Hazlet Township Planning Board, “Hazlet 2030: A Community Vision for Hazlet Township,” Press Release, Jeff Tyler, October 2009, accessed January 15, 2010. This press release announces the kick-off workshop for the Hazlet 2030 visioning process and describes the purpose and funding for the process.  

Maser Consulting P.A., “Hazlet 2030: Briefing Book,” August 14, 2009, accessed January 15, 2010. This document was used at a public workshop and presents the existing conditions, describes prior planning efforts and the key focus areas, and provides questions for public discussion during the workshop.

Pike County Office of Community Planning, “Pike County Comprehensive Plan: Growing…Naturally,” November 2006, Accessed January 15, 2010.  

Pike County Commissioners and Sponsors, “Pike County Visioning: 1998 to 2020, A Final Report,” October 20, 1999. This report is the culmination of a five-year planning process and includes extensive recommendations for specific subject areas in Pike County, PA. The report is available by calling the Pike County Community Planning Office at 570.296.3500.

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Experts

Center for Rural PA
717.787.9555
Mr. Denk was a primary author of Planning for the Future: A Handbook on Community Visioning and has guided many communities through the visioning process.
PA Downtown Center
717.233.4675 x112
Ms. Fitzpatrick has led community visioning exercises for municipalities in Pennsylvania for the past five years as part of the local services arm of the PA Downtown Center.
Hazlet Township, NJ
732.264.1700 x8656
Ms. Brugger has worked with many municipalities on comprehensive, multi-municipal, and recreation and open space planning efforts, which have each included elements of the community visioning process.
Pennoni Associates, Inc.
215.222.3000 x3312
Ms. Brugger has worked with many municipalities on comprehensive, multi-municipal, and recreation and open space planning efforts, which have each included elements of the community visioning process.
Land Logics Group
Sally B. Holbert is a Pennsylvania registered landscape architect with over 20 plus years of experience in land use planning.

Case Studies

Allegheny Places, Allegheny County’s first comprehensive plan, establishes an overall vision for their future and a roadmap to get there. The comprehensive plan sets policies for development, redevelopment, conservation and economic initiatives. The plan provides a framework for the strategic use …
In response to the interest that the Monroe Township Supervisors expressed in finding a new way of visioning the future of their community and the impacts of their land use decisions, the Central PA Conservancy created a visioning presentation that shows a “community build-out analysis” for the Con…

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CommunityViz® software enables users to see what different land use and development scenarios would look like if they were to actually occur. It allows users to create hypothetical scenarios and assess the economic, environmental, social, and visual impacts of those scenarios. (Print version of CT …

Acknowledgements

Jeannette Brugger, AICP, PP prepared this tool. Thanks to the following individuals for their assistance: Sharon Keegan, Zoning Official and Enforcement Officer for Hazlet Township, NJ; Michael Mrozinski, Pike County Community Planning; Julie Fitzpatrick, PA Downtown Center; Ed Arnold, Secretary of the Millersville Borough, PA, Borough Council.

Disclaimer

Nothing contained in this or any other document available at ConservationTools.org is intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The authors disclaim any attorney-client relationship with anyone to whom this document is furnished. Nothing contained in this document is intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any person any transaction or matter addressed in this document.
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