Cooper - I presently have little exposure to the "Imagine Olympia" project or comprehensive planning, but I do have ideas on these topics. I will have the time available to fully participate in these endeavors.
Gates - I have been involved with the City's current Imagine Olympia comprehensive planning process and the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update process for a long time. Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) The Shoreline Master Program plan was on my radar even before the Thurston Regional Planning Council wrote its draft shoreline document for Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater and their urban growth areas. I interviewed Steve Morrison of the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) for an article for the January/February 2009 issue of the South Sound Green Pages regarding the writing of the TRPC's draft document. I also attended at least one of the community meetings for the draft proposal. Currently, I am attending the Planning Commission's SMP subcommittee meetings, which has greatly increased my knowledge of the process. I am impressed with the leadership skills of Commissioner Chair Roger Horn and Vice-Chair Amy Tousley. Subcommittee and committee members are asking good, clarifying questions about timelines, process, and outcomes. Tousley is chair of the subcommittee. She and the subcommittee has been very welcoming of community members to attend and participate at meetings to the fullest extent desired. Tousley has invited city staff such as Cari Hornbein, Todd Stamm, and David Hanna to help the committee and the public with the documents and questions as they arise. Given the tight timeline, this has been very useful. I'm pleased that the Planning Commission is taking its role seriously in crafting a document that is unique to Olympia. As a councilmember, I will continue to take an active interest in the process and strongly urge citizens to get involved in the SMP process now. With the deadline for the SMP in September, I am hoping there will be an opportunity to add to it if we discover something that should be added after we go through the Comprehensive Plan update process.
The Comprehensive Plan is a generalized plan for the future of the city. The plan is also an opportunity to create new relationships and encourage people to learn what is going on in the community and get involved. It is a collective visioning process that, if done right, will do so much more for us than what ends up on paper. I worked directly with city staff and became responsible for ensuring that copies of the Comprehensive Plan are available to the public for check-out through the Timberland Library system. I am a long-time regular attendee of city Planning Commission meetings and have been following the Commissioner's recent conversations about their integrated scope of work . I am aware that the city's goal is to include 2 - 8% of Olympia's population, which would be 1,000 to 4,000, in the comprehensive plan process. I attended the city's kickoff for the Imagine Olympia campaign at The Olympia Center and wrote a detailed article about it, with photographs, on my blog at wwww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com. This article was reprinted in the South Sound Green Pages, which has a local distribution of 3,000. My blog currently receives about 500 hits a week, has about 60 subscribers, and an unknown number of people who receive it through an RSS feed. My articles are often reprinted in the Green Pages. Another local publication, Works in Progress, with a circulation of almost 3,000, also periodically reprints my articles on these issues. Through my personal efforts, I am independently reaching a significant portion of Olympia's population that the council has targeted for participation in the process. I am also the one who recommended that the city hire Steve Byers to facilitate the Imagine Olympia community meetings. I have been thanked verbally by staff for a good selection. I have also read the comprehensive plan-related reports and recommendations of various community groups such as Olympia Climate Action, the League of Women Voters and members of the West Olympia Business Association.
Gray - I have participated in the Imagine Olympia planning process by offering comments through the City's website. I have not been involved in the Shoreline Master Program update. My city involvement efforts have been concentrated on trying to strengthen the role of the Olympia Heritage Commission in city planning and downtown development. I have read thoroughly the current Parks planning and have offered supportive comments and suggestions for additional direction.
Langer - I have been involved in providing citizen input to previous iterations of the Comprehensive Plan. Because of family obligations late last year and this year, I have not attended any of the Imagine Olympia events, although I have reviewed the comments and process online at the city website. I have also not participated in the Shoreline Master Plan update process for the same reason.
Lazar - I have attended two public meetings of Imagine Olympia, and assisted several individuals with understanding the Comprehensive Plan, the process for amending the Plan, and drafting comments on the Plan amendment process. I believe that the public process needs to be more goal-oriented, and a technical committee of citizens retained to incorporate publicly stated goals into tangible plan elements. Adequate review time for drafts must be provided, with a clear communication of how the comments will be considered.
Richards - As a Planning Commissioner, I have had the privilege of being directly involved in the work of amending both the Comp Plan and the SMP. I have been very impressed with the work that the Commission has done thus far in drafting the scope of work and appreciative of the staff for the invaluable support given to that work. I think that once the Council approves a scope, the Commission should begin scheduling the many public meetings we will need to have in order to amend the Comp Plan and SMP in ways that honor the values, needs, and vision of community.
Selby - The Imagine Olympia home meeting I attended was characterized by a vibrant exchange of ideas. The attendees were an assortment of my South Capital neighbors. Many of these folks had lived in Olympia for 30 years, or more! As you can imagine, they were a wealth of information on where we have been, are currently and should be in the future. The home kit was well designed and easy to implement, a tribute to the staff that developed the model. The city succeeded in getting the word out on how to host a home meeting. My hope is that they received an enthusiastic response. The use of the home kit feedback will be crucial to the success and "buy-in" of the updated Comprehensive Plan in the community. I attended a public hearing on the Shoreline Master Program and left impressed by the speaker's ability to present complicated data, graphs and maps in a manner that was understandable to the layperson. This may seem a like an innocuous point, but there are many people whose lives will be affected by the outcome of these decisions who do not have a hard science background. It is important that the information be relayed in a lucid, non-intimidating manner so the community has a clear understanding of why certain rules are necessary to protect shorelines.
Smith - Providing opportunity for public education and input to the. planning process are the only way to success with public planning. The Imagine Olympia program is a well thought out part of the process and I believe it will help community work together for a better understanding of the challenges and to help find responsible solutions to growth management.
Thomas - I attended several meetings to discuss the update process for the Imagine Olympia process and I attended two of the Imagine Olympia events. More recently, as a Planning Commissioner, I have listened to extensive public testimony, and read and studied almost all of the comments received through the process. Overall, this has been a creative attempt to engage diverse community members in imagining a future Olympia. However, discussions of future, in order to be useful for planning, need to be grounded in the context of the requirements of comprehensive planning and shoreline management requirements. The best way to provide a context would be to explain goals and requirements for participants in discussions about Olympia's future. Important background would include a description of where we have succeeded, and where we are still challenged to succeed. Then, participants could state their preferences among a realistic array of alternative means to achieving growth management requirements. This process would, at its best, serve to educate members of the public about how the choices they make in their everyday lives what they eat, where they live, how they travel-have a cumulative impact that significantly shapes Olympia's future. This, in turn, will help to manage expectations about what choices are realistic for Olympia and how we each play a role in achieving community goals. Regarding next steps, there is still a golden opportunity to shape a dialogue with the attributes that I have listed above. Now that we are moving closer to the completion of the comprehensive plan update scoping process, we are likely moving toward a second stage of planning and engaging the public. We can design a process that provides a planning context, and facilitate a more informed and disciplined dialogue about how Olympia can best accommodate future generations.
Veldheer - I attended a community visioning exercise at Lincoln Middle School in March with my daughters and found the exercise very enjoyable. Everyone involved seemed to walk away with a good impression of the City and the process of updating the comprehensive plan. A lot of great ideas were shared at the meeting, which drew a number of people who normally do not get involved with local issues. The ideas and information shared, however, tended to be less technical and more general in nature. I am concerned the information gathered will be difficult for city staff to integrate into the Comprehensive plan. While my participation in the community visioning exercise was fun, I was able to give a more focused input through the Thurston County League of Women Voters, for which I served on a subcommittee that researched and developed a paper on water resources. I believe other organizations also have valuable perspectives that need to be added to the public input process. As for next steps, I would suggest that the current Comprehensive and Shoreline plans be evaluated to see if they have been well followed and successful in achieving their existing goals. Citizen input should be part of that process of assessment Where impediments are found, new solutions can be developed to increase the probability of success. I would like to see the next steps include a review of the current Shoreline Master Program and Comprehensive Plan in which citizens make suggestions for updates as needed.