Comprehensive Plan Evaluation
The Choctaw Comprehensive Plan of 2017 is the comprehensive plan for the city of Choctaw in Oklahoma country in the State of Oklahoma in the United States. The plan was adopted in 2017 after a 14-month development process and spans 20 years. This plan outlines the shared vision of the Choctaw City community and how it would be realized effectively. As such, this plan guides daily decision-making regarding the development of the City of Choctaw. The Choctaw City Council adopted the Choctaw Comprehensive Plan after the unanimous approval the city’s Planning Commission. An elaborate and participatory approval process for the comprehensive plan was undertaken through the stewardship of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), the City Council, and the Planning Commission.
Public participation was involved at all stages of the plan-making process because of the need to raise awareness, educate, get input, interact, and forge partnerships (Widener 31). The public was represented by residents of the city, business owners operating in the city, and a team of professional consultants, who are essential stakeholders (Kelly 94). The public engagement comprised of stakeholder interviews, an online survey, and public meetings. For the interviews, focus groups and one-on-one formats were used. Also, the interviewees were drawn from various community groups and organizations in the city that represented the policymakers, business community, schools, and professional bodies. An online survey was used to unearth the issues afflicting the city and the opportunities available. The study attracted 365 respondents who provided valuable feedback related to the needs of the city dwellers to the planning team. Various formats of public meeting were used including open house meetings and joint public hearings. Open house meeting allowed the community to engage freely with the planning team through the entire process of plan development. However, the public hearing allowed the public to witness the engagement between the planning teams and city leaders. Specifically, the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) would explain the planning process and present its drafts to the Planning Commission and the City Council for adoption.
Critical analysis of plan
Current and future conditions
The Choctaw Comprehensive Plan has clearly articulated the current and future conditions of the city. For instance, the population of Choctaw City was growing at 7.6 %, which was consistent with that of Oklahoma country (City of Choctaw 4). Most city dwellers were aged between 45 and 64 years and below 19 years, and as such, the proportion of the elderly was expected to increase in the future. This would increase the demand for facilities and services that cater to the elderly in the community. Although the city is sparsely populated, having 11,992 residents living in the space of about 70 square kilometers, it is located near Boeing Industries and Tinker Air Force Base who are the major employers in the region. Besides, it is a suburban city located near the populous Oklahoma City (City of Choctaw 15). Therefore, it is projected that the growth of Oklahoma City, Boeing Industries and Tinker Air Force Base would trickle into Choctaw City, increasing the demand for housing, road infrastructure and social amenities.
The goals of the Choctaw Comprehensive Plan of 2017 are guided by the vision statement, which states that, “If you’re looking for great quality of life, open green space, schools, and economic opportunities, Choctaw, Oklahoma is the place to be.” (City of Choctaw 17). The plan has eight goals that are articulated according to their focus. The goals focus on land use, transportation, infrastructure, public facilities, recreation, economic development, downtown revitalization and the livability of the city.
The land use goal is to meet the needs of the community through balanced land uses, maximize the revenues of the city and conserve its natural environment. The transportation goal is to construct and maintain a road infrastructure that facilitates the movement and connectivity in the city. Also, the road network should enhance safety and portray a positive image of the city to the visitors and the residents alike. The infrastructure goal aims at ensuring that the infrastructure system in Choctaw would serve the growing community.
The public facilities goal is to continue providing high-quality public services to a growing community in Choctaw while the recreation and open spaces goal aims at the provision of recreational amenities for the physical activities and entertainment of community members of all ages. The economic development goal is to attract business investments into the city and explore the financing options of improvement projects in Choctaw. Similarly, the downtown revitalization goal is the creation of a downtown area in Choctaw that is an attractive destination, and the livable city goal aims at ensuring that Choctaw is a desirable living place for people of all demographics.
The eight common goals of comprehensive planning focus on public health, public safety, circulation, public services and facilities, fiscal health, economics, environmental protection and redistribution (Widener 31). The goals in the Choctaw Comprehensive Plan are mostly consistent with the eight common goals of comprehensive planning. For instance, the land use goal of Choctaw has elements of environmental protection and fiscal health of the city. In addition, the transportation goal in the city plan has elements addressing the circulation, public safety and environmental protection goals in comprehensive planning. Moreover, the economic development goal in the Choctaw master plan contains aspects related to the economic, fiscal health and redistributive goals in a comprehensive plan. Altogether, each goal in the Choctaw Comprehensive Plan addresses multiple goals in a comprehensive plan.
Connection to goals
The Choctaw Comprehensive Plan makes proposal for the retrofitting sidewalks and bike lanes into the existing road infrastructure. This proposal addresses the transportation goal in the city plan. The retrofits address the constraints in movement and safety in the city because they will improve the mobility and safety of pedestrians and riders on the roads.
Another proposal is the development of an employer discount program that would attract investments into the city of Choctaw and in turn, increase employment, generate revenue and attract people to the city. This proposal connects with the economic development goal, which also focuses on attracting investments and enhancing revenue generation alongside providing financing options for developmental projects in the city.
The Choctaw Comprehensive Plan proposes the maintenance and improvement of the Lloyd Williamson, Choctaw Creek, Optimist, Tan Acre, Abts and Bouse parks to realize the recreation and open space goal. The maintenance of these parks aims at refurbishing the park equipment, which is dilapidated, while the park improvement program would modernize the park amenities. Some of the park improvement proposals include the construction of restroom facilities for golfers at the Choctaw Creek Park, providing a fishing pier at the Ten Acre Park and constructing a new pavilion at the Lloyd Williamson Park for community gatherings among others. Moreover, implementation of modern amenities for horseshoes, basketball and volleyballs is proposed for most of the parks in the city (City of Choctaw 97). These proposals would enable people of all ages to engage in physical activities and entertainment as part of the realization of the recreation and open space goal.
City of Choctaw. Choctaw Comprehensive Master Plan. 2017. Retrieved from https://mychoctaw.org/DocumentCenter/View/559/Choctaw-Comprehensive-Master-Plan-PDF. Accessed 30 September 2019
Kelly, Eric Damian. Community planning: An introduction to the comprehensive plan. Island Press, 2012.
Widener, Michael N. “Moderating citizen visioning in town comprehensive planning: deliberative dialog processes.” Wayne Law Review, vol.59, 2013, pp. 25-47.