Mayor wants diversity in comprehensive plan participation
by Elsie Hodnett
Jan 27, 2014 | 794 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LINCOLN – More than 40 people attended an informational meeting to learn about participation in the city’s Long Range Comprehensive Plan.

“The state requires each city to do a Long Range Comprehensive Plan,” Mayor Bud Kitchin said at the information meeting Thursday night. “It is a product of citizens and interested parties, such as business owners. I would like to have 100 or more people involved, with people from all walks of life — a lot of diversity.”

Kitchin said the city partnered with Epiphany Collaboration, LLC, an organization of community planners, economic developers and other experts, to assist with the process.

“The plan needs to be updated every five years, but it’s a 20-year plan,” said Katherine Ennis, with Epiphany Collaboration, LLC.

Ennis, who has experience in city and county government and worked for a regional commission and as planning director for the city of Northport, said many smaller cities don’t have a planner on payroll but need help doing a five-year plan.

“Some cities don’t really involve the residents,” she said. “That is not how I do it. I want to form a citizen committee around a number of topics.”

Topics to be covered include transportation, environment, economic development, healthcare, utilities, historic downtown, recreation/senior activities and tourism.

“It is not a long, drawn-out process,” she said. “Our kick-off meeting is Feb. 27, and the committees will meet and formulate goals and objectives, planning for 2034.”

Ennis said her specialty is land use planning, and Greg Clark, also with Epiphany Collaboration, LLC, specializes in economic development. Ennis and Clark will assist the committees in their area of expertise.

“The committees will meet once a month for about four months, in addition to the kick-off and wrap-up meetings,” she said. “So it is six meetings to attend, starting in February. And each committee will find out which day of the week and time of day works best for the people on that committee.”

Attendees asked if the committee members would have access to neighboring cities/counties comprehensive plans and if there is a template to develop the plan.

“I have a couple of templates, but this is very much your document,” Ennis said. “You start with an idea and see if it is good for Lincoln. We can also hunt around for places that have accomplished what we want to do and see how they did it.”

Ennis said the state code allows the city to go up to 5 miles outside the incorporated city limits for planning jurisdiction.

Kitchin said the city can’t go 5 miles in some directions because of the Coosa River and because it would bump into other cities’ jurisdictions.

“With the police jurisdiction (3 miles), we worked it out with Talladega because each of us overlaps the other,” he said. “And do we need to declare 5 miles for planning jurisdiction? It might be a good idea to bring our planning jurisdiction in to the police jurisdiction. I don’t think Lincoln needs to own the world—I think we need to fill in the holes in our jurisdiction.”

Volunteer forms will be made available on the city’s website and are available for pickup at City Hall at any time.

Kitchin said the deadline for submitting the volunteer form is Feb. 13. The kick-off meeting is Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.