In an open house scheduled for Tuesday, city planners were to present an update to the public on the top 10 issues for each of PlanOKC’s eight elements, which were determined in public meetings in February, and attempt to narrow each list of 10 to about three, said Susan Miller, assistant planning director for Oklahoma City.
PlanOKC’s goal is to create a more sustainable and healthy city, according to the project website, planokc.org. The program will consider citizen input on issues that affect the entire city — such as transportation, appearance, schools, public safety, and cultural, retail and entertainment opportunities — and will include policies to improve quality of life.
Once in place, the plan, now in its third of seven phases, will be used to guide future public and private development in the city, Miller said.
Phase one began in 2008, and a final plan likely will come before the city’s planning commission and the City Council in about two years, she said.
“One of the main purposes is we’re trying to touch base with people who have been involved, but attract more people who want to be involved, but haven’t yet,” Miller said.
The next phase is goal development using the top issues from citizen input, and to develop policies to achieve those goals. Those should be ready by next summer to go through another public input process, she said.
“We still have a lot of work to do and two more phases,” Miller said. “We have a lot of consultant work to do that; we haven’t engaged those consultants yet.”
She said PlanOKC was put into place because the city’s current comprehensive long-range plan for growth and development is outdated. That plan was rewritten in 2000 from a previous one.
“We’ve known for awhile that that was really out-of-date,” Miller said. “It doesn’t really address the issues we’re seeing today in development. We’ve changed so much even just in the last five years. People are wanting to see new things; people are kind of expecting more of development and the community and of the government. Everything kind of needed to start fresh.”
Once complete, the plan will prioritize public improvements, identify elements of top importance to citizens and the city, and allow the development community to provide those elements when working on projects. “I think it’s going to allow us to expect more of the development community. We need to expect more of ourselves as a city. We need to expect that we’re going to have all these things we complain we don’t have,” Miller said.
Besides setting expectations for private developers, the plan likely will result in code changes and the establishment of public-private partnerships to achieve its goals, she said.
“I think our community has evolved to need things our current comprehensive plan doesn’t address,” Miller said. “Even after it’s adopted, it’s an ongoing process to kind of start working toward all these things we identify.”