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Thu, Oct. 17

Help decide Prescott's future by giving feedback on General Plan

Arizona's "Growing Smarter/Growing Smarter Plus" legislation, adopted in 1998 and amended in 2000 and 2002, requires a municipality's General Plan be updated every 10 years. Initially, these documents were intended to provide a strategy for land use and transportation planning. Given the increasing demand for public goods, common pool resources, and economic resiliency, the legislation has been updated to include elements that address these more socio-economically and environmentally inclined demands from the constituency.

Legislation requires the inclusion of a participatory process, engaging the local citizenry to best identify public priorities. Policymakers gain greater understanding of the community's needs and desired future when people of diverse backgrounds come together to openly discuss, debate, and listen to one another. For local government, actively engaging the public in the planning process means to work directly with the public throughout the process to ensure the public's issues and concerns are consistently understood and considered.

The City of Prescott began the update process in 2011. Rather than rewriting the General Plan, City Council chose to update the 2003 plan. The City Council created the General Plan Update Committee made up of 13 community members including two non-voting council members. Required elements include land use, circulation, open space, growth area, environmental planning, cost of development and water resources (optional economic development and community quality elements were also included).

Though not law, this document contains democratically derived public policy that is used to create regulation, and is the manifestation of democratic principles this country was founded upon. The policies contained in the General Plan can be used to develop a strategic plan for the City and Specific Area Plans for geographic areas in need of specific planning consideration.

Community input is the pillar upon which local policy is based, and there is still time for all citizens to participate. The plan will be presented to Prescott voters for ratification in November 2015.

The Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center provides analysis and services that facilitate economic development throughout Yavapai County and build wealth in our local communities.

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