Comprehensive Planning & Stakeholder engagement

The City of Green and Village of Richfield are in the process of updating their comprehensive (Land Use) Plans. Both initiatives are on a companion path to be completed by March 2024.

CAM, Inc. has significant real estate and development portfolios within each municipality and is very much engaged in both planning efforts.

In Green, CAM. Inc. has more than developed more than 500,000 sq. ft. of office, commercial, light industrial, flex, warehouse and retail space. The company owns more than 215 acres within the city of which approximately 50+ acres are vacant and available for future development.

CAM, Inc. had developed close to 400,000 sq. ft. of “Class A” office, warehouse, light industrial and flex space in the Village of Richfield. Of the approximate 103 acres under CAM, Inc. ownership within the village, more than 46 acres have been built upon, leaving approximately 57 acres available for future development opportunities.

The company is just one of many interested parties, individuals, entities having a significant interest at stake since both efforts will be creating a blueprint/strategy for the next several years to come.  

Stakeholder engagement will be a critical component to the successful completion and implementation of each strategy.

What is a comprehensive Plan?

A comprehensive plan (often called “master plan,” “general plan,” or “land use plan”) is a long-range planning document that expresses a community’s overarching vision, goals, objectives, policies, and strategies for the future growth (or smart shrinkage), development; the preservation/protection of: community assets, existing neighborhoods, recreational areas, parks and green space.

The process of developing this plan should be a community-wide effort. All interest groups should play a part in delineating this vision. Specific goals and objectives should be developed along with a time frame for implementation.

With the major impacts of a plan affecting virtually everyone within a community, stakeholder engagement should a top priority throughout the entire development process.

Who are the Stakeholders?

Typical stakeholders during a comprehensive planning process include: citizens, government officials, municipal employees, business leaders, neighborhood associations, community, religious and not-for-profit organizations, consultants and media groups.

No stakeholders’ groups are ever the same. These groups mostly reflect the character, demographics and scale of the city, township, village they live, volunteer or do business in.

Stakeholders are comprised either individually (residents, employees, government officials, business/landowners, staff), or in groups (associations, government departments, governing bodies, commercial companies).

Who Facilitates a Comprehensive Planning Process?

Municipalities, who seek to update or undertake an entirely new comprehensive (land use) plan, typically employ the services/expertise of a planning consultant, as its facilitator. A planning consulting firm is primarily selected based upon proven experience and a very good track record.

The facilitator is there to make a municipality’s planning process not only easier but also more effective. Facilitators serve as neutral agents who “plan, guide and manage a group event to ensure that the group’s objectives are met effectively, with clear thinking, good participation and full buy-in from everyone who is involved.”

Professional facilitators typically will:

  • Provide a framework and agenda for the strategic planning retreat, including goals and outcomes for the session.
  • Provide unbiased objectivity during the strategic planning session.
  • Listen actively to all participants.
  • Craft intentional questions designed to keep the group focused and engaged.
  • Keep time so that the group can achieve its goals (instead of always running out of time).
  • Create an inclusive and safe atmosphere.
  • Foster individual participation.
  • Encourage honest and intentional communication from all participants.
  • Strive to foster consensus-building within the group.
  • Guide the group’s action planning and reflection processes.

City of Green/Village of Richfield Comprehensive Plans

City of Green

The City of Green launched its 2023-2024 Comprehensive Plan update at the inaugural meeting of the City’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee on April 26 at City Council Chambers.

The 20-member steering committee includes one representative from each of the City’s boards and commissions, one representative from City Council, representatives from the city’s business and non-profit communities, 5 members of the community at large and one student from Green High School.  This process is being led by key members of city staff responsible for implementing the plan and Kleinfelder Consultants approved by City Council January 10, 2023.

Village of Richfield

The Village of Richfield began its 2023 Comprehensive Land Use plan update process at the initial meeting (via zoom) of its Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee Meeting of March 1, 2023.

The  Steering Committee is made up of 19 members from various demographics of the community.  Additional participants include a few members of administration and consultants — which are tasked with leading the committee. 

Kleinfelder Consultants was also selected to be the consultant/facilitator for this initiative. 

Comprehensive Planning Process

Usually, this is a four phase (stakeholder engagement) process undertaken throughout a 12-to-13-month timeframe.

Phase I:         Discovery (Months 1-3)

  • Initial Meeting with Municipal Leaders and Key Staff Interviews
    • Consultant team introduced
    • Municipal tour
    • Meeting prep, materials
    • Review scope, timeline, meetings, logo/branding
    • Discuss diversity, equity and inclusion during entire planning process
    • Stakeholder interviews
    • Appoint Steering Committee Members
  • Analyze/Review Existing Planning Documents; Compile/Analyze Data; Key issue Updates
    • Long Range Land Use plan
    • Planning & Zoning Reports
    • Recreation/Open Space Plan
    • Transportation Plan
    • Water/Sewer/Utility Infrastructure
    • Census data
    • Key issues trends
  • Information Sharing, Insights, Visioning Prep (SC Meeting #1)
    • Review data collected/provide summary
    • Review best practices for key issues
    • Plan visioning event
  • Creation of a Communications/Public Engagement Plan
    • Determine how to communicate, engage and educate residents

Phase II:        Collaboration/Visioning (Months 4-6)

  • Public Visioning Event
    • Meeting Preparation
    • Develop meeting materials, PowerPoint
    • Facilitate conversation
    • Identify consistent themes, common perceptions
    • Planning elements to include:
      • Land use; housing; connectivity/transportation, sustainability/resiliency; parks/recreation; cultural/natural resources; infrastructure/utilities; community facilities; public services/safety; quality of life; economic development; innovation/technology
    • Public Visioning Debrief and Workshop Organization
      • Organize visioning data, planning themes
      • Workshop preparation
      • Meeting prep, materials
      • Summarize meeting results
      • Create draft vision statement
  • Draft Community Survey Review & Public Visioning Review (SC meeting #2)
    • Create survey with City, SC, feedback (on line with paper copies available)
    • Analyze and report results
  • Continued Community Input/Engagement
    • Agendas, talking points, engagement tools, summary of engagement, speaker’s bureau presentation

Phase III:       Draft Plan Preparation (Months 6-12)

  • Prepare for workshops (SC Meeting #3)
  • Host Three Stakeholder workshops
    • Topics to include:
      • Transportation, economic development, rec/open space and natural resources
    • Meeting prep, materials and PowerPoint
    • Summarize workshops, provide comments to SC via email
  • Review Land Summaries of contiguous communities
  • Review utility needs and land use patterns (inside and outside) of the municipality for undeveloped land
  • Create implementation strategy, matrix aligning goals, timelines, action steps, responsible parties, funding sources
  • Draft Plan Prep and preliminary approval
    • Summarize all data
    • Provide narrative and attachments
    • Review local, state and federal strategic plans to ensure coordination
    • Future land use map (GIS)/strategy for development land
    • Create GIS story map
    • Utilize population analysis and identify potential areas for residential development, commercial and industrial growth
    • Create design concepts for three workshop focus areas
    • Recommend changes to policy/legislation/zoning code
    • Review with Steering Committee (4th meeting

Phase IV:      Public Review/Final Adoption (Months 12-13)

  • Public Review
    • Select date, time, location for public forum
    • Press releases, social media promotion
    • PowerPoint presentation
  • Final Adoption
    • Set review/approvals: SC; Planning Commission; City Counsel
    • Deliverables: hard copies of report; PDF’s, matrix, flip book, PowerPoint presentation.

CAM, Inc., as part of its ongoing commitment to the City of Green, and the Village of Richfield will always be an active participant through this entire process; providing significant feedback and valuable input whenever the opportunity arises.

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CAM, Inc.
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Uniontown, Ohio 44685

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Akron, Ohio 44309

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