Good Evening! Welcome to the training and panel on Community Planning Groups. The purpose of this evening is to facilitate greater participation in Community Planning groups and the community planning process overall.This event is part of an educational series put on by the Community Budget Alliance. I am Corinne Wilson, coordinator of the CBA and on staff at the Center on Policy Initiatives. And I’d like to thank our translator for the evening, Alejandra. Thanks Ale!Let’s do a quick overview of this evening.First, I will do a short training on the planning process at the City of San Diego to place Community Planning Groups in context and make the case for you to get involved.Then, we will welcome the new head of the Planning and Neighborhood Restoration Department, Bill Fulton, who will say a few words introducing himself and a vision for the department.Then finally, we will spend the last hour of tonight hearing from a terrific panel of experts on community planning.Let’s get started with the training and the evening
Who is CBA?Community Budget Alliance is a coalition of over 20 community-based groups that have come together to advocate for more transparency, accountability and equity in City funding decisions. The overall goal is about getting more community voice and more community power into the decisions that impact our communities. We helped win infrastructure projects in the City budget like more streetlights throughout the City and a skate plaza in City Heights, helped win a pilot program for free bus passes for low-income high schoolersand many more. Do trainings and education on the City Budget, Capital Improvement Projects and How to Successfully Advocate for your Neighborhood. What is the context of tonight’s training and panel?Shift in attitude at the City. More opportunities for citizen participation and input in how decisions are made. Especially about infrastructure decisions.Infrastructure committee – making a lot of decisions on where investments in City infrastructure go and setting standards of quality and quantity.All community plans have been or will be updated in the next couple of years.Community planning groups have increased role in outreach and gathering of input on infrastructure needs/wants. Lease-revenue bonds. City is selling $100 million/year in bonds for funding infrastructure projects for the next 3 years. Need to decide how to spend that money
What is infrastructure?Essentially, infrastructure is the basic items we rely on in the built environment, such as streets or water and sewer pipes. It also usually means buildings, such as libraries, fire and police stations, or recreation centers. Infrastructure is also parks, roads, sidewalks, and streetlights. Decisions about infrastructure investment are structured through the land-use planning and budgetary processes. Where does it all begin? It begins with the General Plan and gets more specific as we move through community plans and finally to the Capital Improvement Projects and Annual City Budget. Briefly, a city’s General Plan serves as the vision for future development, construction and infrastructure investment, while the annual budget implements this vision through approving and appropriating funds for the infrastructure work.This process of planning is the main method of collecting citizens’ input on their vision of the community and the city as a whole. However, there are challenges to implementing the visions captured in the General and Community Plans. Infrastructure investment is a complex process of creative funding solutions and allocation of scarce resources while balancing diverse and sometimes competing interests.
California state law requires each city and county to adopt a general plan.The General Plan is the basis for all land-use decisions within a city and provides a vision for how a city should grow and develop, provide public services and maintain its defining characteristics. The adoption of the plan represents one of the primary ways for citizens to participate in the planning and decision-making processes of their communities, and it defines the standards for investment throughout the city.
For example, the General Plan sets the standards for provision of services throughout the city. In the City of San Diego, the General Plan adopted in 2008 sets the standard for 2.8 acres of park space per 1,000 residents. In Chula Vista, this number is 3 acres per 1,000 residents and in National City, it is 1.9 per 1,000. Not all communities have this much park space, but the plan defines the citywide goal. General Plans are updated every 10 to 15 years and are meant to reflect the values of the residents. As community opinions about the city – and the city itself – change, so do the standards. Therefore, communities that experience their main growth at different times and under different general plans look and feel different.
While the General Plan sets goals and standards citywide, community plans define how these goals will be achieved in a smaller area within the city. For example, the General Plan may call for a certain amount of park space, but the community or area plan shows where the park will be located. Community plans are generally created with the participation of residents from those areas in groups that are formally recognized as community planning groups. The community plans identify the infrastructure that will be built by the city. Next, city staff identify how the construction of this infrastructure will be funded. In the City of San Diego, for example, each community planning area has a related facilities financing plan that lists all of the upcoming infrastructure investments, the estimated cost for each, and an estimate of when construction will happen. It also pairs each project with revenue sources to pay for it, if possible. Not all projects can be matched with funding however, since most funding comes with very strict rules about how it can be used.
Community plans do so much. Community residents share their vision with city planners and other city staff who provide the expertise to develop the General and Community Plan. You don’t have to be an expert on how to do this. You just need to be willing to engage with the process, share your ideas and collaborate with your neighbors. Let’s look at the vision for Barrio Logan, who’s community plan is being finalized right now. Here we have a map of what this community has told the City they want to see as the future of being able to bike safely in the community.
Or here, a drawing of what the residents want the community to look like, if the plan comes true. These are documents that say what the community wants to have happen and to tell the City how to make decisions within the neighborhood. Community plans include things like:Detailed policies that provide a basis for evaluating whether specific development proposals and public projects are consistent with the Plan; For example, zoning. Zoning is the part of the plan that says what type of building can be built where. There are different types from housing, to retail, to office, to industrial and so forth. One way to look at zoning is how it can impact public health. For example, in National City, EHC has been successful in changing the zoning in certain areas in order to separate auto body shops from homes, to protect the residents from the polluting chemicals.
Cities generally plan infrastructure work in five-year increments and link this with five-year financial projections. Based on the projected revenues, funds can be identified to be spent on infrastructure. The list of projects included in the five-year plans is created through a combination of information, including if the project is identified in the community plans, an assessment of the condition of existing infrastructure, and whether or not the project is fully funded. Then, during the annual budget process, the list of infrastructure projects for that year is confirmed and funding is allocated. The City does not have a five-year plan right now, but will be creating one in the next few months.
Here is the timeline for how infrastructure projects get decided in the budget. There are different opportunities to
In the 1960s and 1970s, the City Council adopted policies that established and recognized community planning groups as formal mechanisms for community input in the decision-making processes. There are 42 Community Planning Groups in the City. Their role is to advise the City on:Land use – implementation of the community plan and/or general planHelp do outreach and guide input for community planHelp do outreach and collect input for capital improvement projects planningStructureEach CPG meets regularly, usually monthly. Each CPG advises on the neighborhoods within its geographic boundary only. Membership is for:Property ownersResidentsBusiness owners within that geographic boundaryThere is an elected board which ideally, represents the geographic sections and diversity of the community.Each of the chairs of the CPG represents that CPG at a Citywide advisory group called the Community Planners Committee where each CPG gets one vote.
Neighborhood Input policy and Code for America
How to get involved?Remember “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Or really, the City wants to hear from us, so let’s talk to them.
Community planning group training
Facilitating Resident Participation
Corinne Wilson, Center on Policy Initiatives
August 21, 2013
Community Budget Alliance
◦ Infrastructure Committee
◦ Community Plan Updates
◦ CPG role in Capital Improvement Project input
◦ City bonds
Jul-Sep: CPGs collect community input on
Oct-Jan: City staff (CIPRAC) analyze & prioritize
infrastructure projects for Mayor’s budget
Mar: Councilmembers submit their budget
Apr: Mayor’s budget released
May-Jun: Budget is debated and voted on
Increased role to help with outreach and gather
input on community infrastructure projects.
CPC and CBA are working with Code for America
to facilitate gathering community input.
◦ Text based
◦ Paper based
Give input to the Community Planning Groups
Get involved in your Community Planning
Contact your Councilmembers & the Mayor
◦ Visit, email, call, Facebook/Tweet, etc.
Attend budget hearings.
Resources to learn more:
◦ Community Budget Alliance
◦ City of San Diego Planning Department webpage
619.584.5744 x 23