Why you should care about the city’s Comp Plan checkup

ShowImage[5] “I have always found than plans are useless, but planning in indispensible.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

When a successful strategic planner such as Gen. Eisenhower speaks, you’re compelled to listen. But how do you reconcile his statement?

What Gen. Eisenhower meant was that a plan isn’t simply a static to-do list. Plans have to be flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions.

The City of College Station’s Comprehensive Plan is no different.

When the Comp Plan was adopted in 2009, College Station’s population was just a tad more than 90,000, and Texas A&M had a enrollment of about 49,000, thanks to an enrollment cap of 50,000.

Just five years later, the local landscape has changed significantly.

A&M ditched the enrollment cap, which resulted in almost 59,000 students attending classes last fall. Meanwhile, the city’s population surpassed 100,000 last month. That growth is a little faster than we predicted back in 2009, and many of the old assumptions are no longer valid.

That means the Comp Plan’s five-year checkup is falling at an ideal time.

What is the Comprehensive Plan?

Simply stated, the Comp Plan is the city’s long-term guide for future growth and development. That makes it a very important document for your elected leaders, city staff, prospective businesses, residents, and you. Ideally, the plan reflects the views of residents and business owners and is a statement about what our community wants to become. The city council uses the Comp Plan to guide important decisions that directly impact College Station’s future.

How do you want to see College Station develop in the next two decades? What changes would you like to see?

Two ways to express your opinion

The review process began in late 2013 with the Existing Conditions report, which is a snapshot of the city’s economic and demographic conditions. In the last few months, the Planning and Development Services department has discussed the plan’s strengths and weaknesses with the city council and various city boards and commissions.

Now it’s your turn. Your opinion matters and it’s our time to listen. You have two opportunities in the coming days to tell us what you think.

Monday’s open house

The first is a public open house on Monday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at A&M Consolidated Middle School. Anyone interested in the city’s future is invited to learn about the Comp Plan and offer opinions about how the plan has performed and what changes should be made.

The open house is a come-and-go event with no formal presentation. City staff will be at several stations, which each represent aspects of the Comp Plan such as neighborhood integrity, community character, public safety, parks and recreation, utilities, business and the economy, new development, etc. Maps and planning documents also will be available for your examination.

You can provide written comments, or express your views to city staff on what you think the city’s priorities should be in the next decade.

Short online survey

At most public meetings and open house events, we tend to see many of the same people who are really plugged into the City of College Station. We don’t see many parents with younger kids or college students because of their hectic schedules.

Many students apparently think that since they are temporary residents their input has little value, but they should realize that even if they aren’t here much longer, other college students will follow. It’s important for us to hear their thoughts.

That’s why we also have an online survey for you to express your opinions, ideas and priorities. The survey will be open through Friday, March 28.

Click here to take the survey.

What happens next?

We’ll present the information we’ve gathered from the open house and the survey to a subcommittee consisting of three city council members and three planning and zoning commissioners. They’ll combine that with the information compiled from our boards and commissions, city council reviews and interviews with city department directors.

After carefully considering that material, the subcommittee will present its recommendations to the Planning & Zoning Commission and finally to the city council, which will decide what changes or modifications will be made.

For more information on the city’s Comprehensive Plan, go to cstx.gov/compplan.

We hope to see you Monday evening!

Jennifer Prochazka

Jennifer Prochazka | Principal Planner
Click the arrow below to hear Jennifer’s podcast about the Comp Plan review: 
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