The Process

We’ve been busy getting ready for the community open house on Saturday (University Mall – 11 to 3!) and you’ve been sending us your questions about the process and what to expect in Chapel Hill  2020.   We’re going to try to answer some of those questions here over the next couple of days, so please help us spread the word.  If you know someone who has been wondering what exactly Chapel Hill 2020 is, please send them our way!

Our goal is to provide enough structure and framework so making this plan real for June becomes possible.  The content and decisions?  They’re part of the process.

So, what is this process?  If you’ve picked up one of the schedule cards and read the fine print, you’ve probably noticed that we have theme group working sessions and theme group reporting out sessions.  At the working sessions, the theme groups meet simultaneously and work on an element of the plan (goals, strategies, actions….).  At the next meeting, the groups report out to each other, sharing their findings and identifying any areas for disucssion and synthesis.  As the theme groups work on the elements of the plan, the reporting out sessions are the glue holding the themes together.  At the end of the process, through this system of work and resolution, we will have one plan, not six.

Some of you have asked about the visioning data from the 27th – will it come back?  Yes.  At the first theme group meeting on the 27th, along with the survey information from the 6th and from the blog.

That data will help remind the theme groups of the issues and ideas that were important in identifying their theme in the first place.

What about outreach?  Diversity?  Making sure that everyone is a part of this plan?  We will have a cycle of outreach and reporting back built into each of the theme group meetings.  We’ve said all along that your interest in having broad representation is critical and we will dedicate time at the theme group meetings to hear what has been generated from the outreach efforts and we will share information from each meeting back to the community through individual meetings, electronic media and with our rapidly-growing network of community contacts.

We know there are more questions out there, and this is just a taste of the answers.  We’ll continue to put new information up here this week in an effort to help spread the word about what Chapel Hill 2020 will be and get down into some of the details.

If you’ve got a question, please post it here.

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7 thoughts on “The Process

  1. Pingback: Your Questions: Part 2 – What does the Theme Group Do? |

  2. Snehal says:

    Thank you for this information.
    Many parents from my child’s school want to participate in this process, but can’t attend the meetings from 4:30-6:30pm due to after school sports and other extracurricular activities. I believe meeting timings will definitely impact attendance of resident stakeholders. In order to get better participation from stakeholders, I believe you should hold meetings after 7 pm
    Also I wanted to know how and when data will be provided? There will be some data relevant to all theme groups such as growth rate and there will be some data pertinent to each theme group such as current policies and constraints for that theme.

  3. Pingback: October 22: Open House at University Mall was a Blast! |

  4. Pingback: What is a Theme? (and yes, you need to be there on the 27th!) |

  5. jeanne brown says:

    Thank you for posting this information. I agree that broad participation is essential but am concerned about how you intend to insure balanced representation in each theme group so that the resulting plan is truly representative. Do you have data about the makeup of the stakeholders who were invited and those who participated in the first two events?
    Looking over the Theme Group sessions I noted that all of the Work Sessions are held from 4:30 – 6:30 on Thursdays and wonder how that will impact resident involvement in particular.
    I would like to understand the structure and system checks-and-balances before we begin the process rather than having them evolve as we go along.

  6. This following is a letter compiled with input from more than a dozen citizens raising questions about the process. It was sent to the leadership team yesterday asking clarifying questions regarding the Vision 2020 process:

    Dear Comprehensive Plan Leaders, team leaders/facilitators, Mayor and Town Council:

    Thanks to you all for your hard work to date on the new comprehensive planning process. Fellow citizens that we are hearing from are excited about Chapel Hill 2020 and are eager to learn more about what to expect and how it will work.

    We are pleased that you are taking time at your October 20th meeting this week to review the process. We have compiled the following list of questions collected from citizens that we hope will be considered during the October 20 meeting.

    Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.

    Janet Smith
    Neighbors for Responsible Growth

    Theme group work

    Theme issues: How will specific issues be identified for each theme group? How will they be distributed across theme areas? Will issues be assigned to groups?

    Theme working groups: How will participants in each working group be selected? Will there be a limit or a minimum on the number of participants for each group? How will tasks be divided up within each group? What process will guide interaction between theme groups?

    Representation: How will diversity of opinion be ensured within each group?

    Product: What will the groups be asked to produce? Will a sample outcome(s) or a clear set of expectations be made available to guide their work?

    Product: Will there be a public discussion about what the working group products should look like? Will it happen before the theme groups begin their work?

    Product: From what has been described so far, it sounds like the final product might include a land use plan, preferences on levels of Town services, measurable goals, and policy implementation. What kind of metrics will citizen participants be expected to work with in order to address these goals? How will those metrics be determined?

    Input: What is the plan for soliciting citizen opinion on the trade-offs as the theme groups discuss them? (Example: Is retaining the Rural Buffer more or less important than opening land for development that could increase our tax base?)

    Data: How will background information be introduced into the process? Who will be responsible for providing the information? (Example: A group considering the comprehensive land use issues would need to consider data such as population projections and growth constraints such as water and sites for new schools.)

    Data: How will stakeholder education be addressed? Would it be possible for Town staff to organize a “bootcamp” to get theme group members up to speed on important planning concepts? They might include zoning/land use principles, current policies and ordinances, small area plans, or planning initiatives like the MPO regional transit and Hwy 54 Corridor work, in addition to local constraints to growth like SAFPO, Carolina North Development Agreement, and the UNC Master Plan.

    Variations in town character: Will there be a method for recognizing that different neighborhoods in town will have different goals? Will there be a way to assess the cumulative impacts of small-area decisions?

    Reporting: How will discussion be summarized and action items recorded? What reporting will be required of each theme group, where will it go, and how will that information be shared with citizens who cannot attend?

    Outreach: What kind of feedback will be solicited from citizens not participating in the theme groups? How will it be collected? How will this feedback inform the theme group work?

  7. Thank you for this information! It helps answer some of my questions about how we will integrate the work of the different theme groups and what some of the steps along the way are. I look forward to more of this type of information.

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