The first step is to attend one of two open houses and then sign up to be on a policy interest team
TIGARD - Think the city's Comprehensive Plan has no relevance to your life? Think again.
Tigard's Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1983, when there were 18,379 residents, to guide the city's growth and development up to 2000.
Now, with 46,300 residents in the city, the Comp Plan is seven years beyond the 2000 planning horizon envisioned in the original document, and staff and citizens are hard at work on an update.
They have produced a mega-report that establishes the factual basis that will be used to update the Comp Plan goals, policies and action measures.
For the next step, the public is invited to attend one of two upcoming open houses to learn what is happening in the city and help decide what the important issues are in a number of areas.
These include natural resources, environmental quality, housing and employment, parks and recreation, public facilities and services, transportation, growth management and citizen involvement.
The first meeting is Wednesday, April 18, from 6 to 8 p.m., and the second is set for Saturday, April 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. Both meetings are at the Tigard Public Library, 13500 S.W. Hall Blvd.
Incorporated cities in Oregon are required to have a foundation for all their land-use related ordinances, according to Ron Bunch, the city's long-range planning manager.
'If these are considered seriously and are well thought out by a community, they will affect people's lives in a positive way,' he said. '(The open houses) are a way for people to participate and make their voices heard. While there are a number of state regulations to follow - and it gets quite technical - it's important to the everyday citizen to be aware of what's going on.'
For example, someone may have lived in a neighborhood with 10,000-square-foot lots, and all of a sudden, a new subdivision goes in next door with small lots that the original neighbor considers too close together.
'People are busy with their own lives and may not follow changing regulations,' Bunch said. 'But it's important for people to recognize and be involved in their community.'
According to Darren Wyss, an associate planner who is the project manager for the Comp Plan revision, people may sign up for policy interest teams that are based in part of community values that citizens have cited in several surveys.
'They will meet in May and June to come up with draft policies and action measures that meet the Comp Plan planning goals in 10 different areas,' Wyss said. 'We'll also use built-in committees like the Tree Board and park board and ad hoc committees like the one studying 99W.'
Tigard has invested a lot in the community visioning process in the last 10 years, according to Bunch.
'People should get excited about the Comp Plan,' he said. 'It serves as a blueprint for the City Council and staff. It structures decision making that takes into account citizens' attitudes.'
For example, community surveys show that people value trees and the library, and they are concerned about traffic congestion and keeping open spaces and more 'green' in the city.
According to the schedule, the Planning Commission will hold work sessions and hearings this summer and present its findings and recommendations to the City Council in the late fall to act on.
'The Planning Commission will make policy recommendations to the City Council on each separate chapter,' Bunch said. 'Part of the issue is coordinating with other agencies, such as ODOT, Metro, LCDC, Washington County and surrounding jurisdictions.
'By early 2008, we should have this wrapped up,' Bunch said.