Recently, an increasing number of counties have begun to implement county wide development plans that incorporate the public in its initiatives. Counties that are homes to hundreds of thousands of residents, many businesses, numerous cities and towns, and various agencies and districts may find it impossible to plan for the future and set priorities without creating a single development plan that the entire county can adhere to.
By making sure that the local governments work together to develop a united plan, the residents and businesses in the county should be better served. When implemented correctly, a county integrated development plan offers a cohesive framework of development that improves the quality of life for everyone that lives and works there. In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about county integrated development plans and the many advantages they provide.
What is a County Integrated Development Plan?
A country integrated development plan is meant to established a comprehensive framework for creating and adopting city and county plans. These plans are long-term policy documents that every jurisdiction uses to plan out its future. They tend to include strategies for:
- Capital facilities
- Land use
- Economic development
- Parks and recreation
The purpose of the county integrated development plan is to effectively coordinate the plans that each jurisdiction in the county has, which will help resolve any regional problems or issues that affect common borders. This framework ensures that the county and city plans are consistent with one another.
The Importance of County Planning
The planning process is an essential component of the ongoing development process and is typically used as the first stage in the budget process. The committee member that’s responsible for planning is tasked with submitting an extensive development plan to the county. This plan indicates what the budget priorities should be for the incoming year.
Counties are able to develop integrated plans, designate various planning units at the administrative level, and focus on public engagement and participation that can inform the entire planning process. County plans usually consist of:
- A county integrated development plan that focuses on the next five years and informs the annual budget that the county maintains
- A county sectoral plan for the next 10 years
- A county spatial plan for the next 10 years
- Municipal and city plans
The county integrated development plan should reflect the strategic priorities that county governments have. It will consist of specific objectives and goals as well as an implementation plan. Additional provisions for evaluating and monitoring the plan should be included.
Comprehensive reporting mechanisms must be entered into the CIDP to make sure that any issues are reported. Details on local projects, investments, maps, statistics, resource mobilization frameworks, and development initiatives will be included as well.
Role of the Public in the County Planning Process
The public can have a large role in the county planning process. In fact, the county planning process is designed to involve citizens in a meaningful way that keeps them engaged and allows them to have input in every facet of local development.
Many counties in California believe that public participation in the decision-making process is a fundamental aspect of democracy. The public is tasked with evaluating if a service is right for the area. There are many reasons why public participation is sought by counties, the primary of which is that it strengthens a sense of community and ensures that a wave of complaints don’t come in once the county plan is finalized.
Individuals who participate in county plans also feel increasingly connected to the area when they take part in creating solutions to various community problems. If these individuals aren’t involved, they might resist solutions once they’ve been developed. It’s common for the people who make notable contributions to the county planning process to experience a feeling of pride and knowledge that they’ve helped improve the county.
In California, every local legislative body must conduct open and public meetings to make sure that members of the public are informed about local decisions that have been made. Meetings are defined as all situations that involve most of the members who are part of the local legislative body. If business is expected to be discussed or transacted, the meetings should be open to the public. Planning commissions are unable to speak privately about issues they might have even if the conversion takes place via email or telephone.
The County Budget and Economic Forum
One aspect of county planning involves a budget and economic forum, which must be established by each individual county. This forum consists of the governor as well as other members of the executive committee. An equal number of entities from the surrounding community should also be there, which includes businesses, professionals, elderly individuals, and people with disabilities. The forum is meant to provide a place where the local government can be consulted on the economic, financial management, and budgeting processes that are necessary for planning in the county.
County Citizen Engagement Framework
A citizen engagement framework is a set of guidelines that requires the local government to put structures in place that allow for citizen participation. Any local or state laws about public participation should be used when establishing this framework.
County Communication Platform and Strategy
County communication platforms and strategies must be integrated into all development activities in the county. These strategies and platforms are designed to provide the public with different methods of communication. When the county government is establishing a communication framework, they must use different media forms that can reach a large percentage of the public. Without these platforms in place, the public wouldn’t have the ability to give their input when a community plan is being developed.
County Civic Education Strategy
The county government is also required to create a comprehensive and effective civic education framework that pushes citizens to participate in the planning process and gives them the ability to have their voice heard. Local government officials are also tasked with submitting an annual report that details citizen participation and how it’s progressed over the past year.
Practical Steps County Governments Need to Take
There are numerous practical steps that county governments are tasked with making to make sure that members of the public are able to take part in the creation of county integrated development plans. These steps include:
- Provide a detailed meeting timetable of different planning forums with enough notice to ensure that public engagement is active
- Deliver a meeting agenda that informs members of the public what their inputs should be
- Work alongside county-based media to raise awareness of the dates and times of the meetings as well as the county planning agenda
- Implement a communication strategy that involves community media, state media, and social media networks
- Make sure that the process is accountable by keeping an exhaustive record of any public submissions that are made
- Provide the public with access to planning documents at every stage of the process
- Provide updates on the planning process as they occur
Role of Civil Society Organizations in the County Planning Process
In California, civil society organizations can play a major role in county planning, which involves everything from raising awareness to keeping the process accountable.
Civil society organizations should use their networks to inform the public on the county planning process and encourage these individuals to take part in the process.
Support the Process
These organizations also provide an ample amount of support for the community planning process by working alongside the county government. During this process, these organizations can offer cash or another form of collaboration.
Keep the Process Accountable
Civil society organizations are also able to keep the process accountable by overseeing the county government. In this role, these organizations make sure that the government has opened meetings to the public and has adhered to any state or local laws regarding public participation.
County integrated development plans are designed to make sure that all governing bodies in the county come to an agreement about what projects will take place, how the budget will be spent, and how land will be used. During the planning process, the public can provide their opinions on every detail of the plan before it’s implemented.
If the public largely disagrees with an aspect of the county development plan, it could be reworked or discarded altogether. If you’re set to start development on a large commercial project, you’ll first need to obtain a building permit by the LADBS, which may involve meetings with members of the public. Consider requesting permit expediting services to ensure that your permit is approved without issue or delay.
Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate
With over 15 years of professional experience in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, Jason Somers has the background, judgement and track record to provide an unparalleled level of real estate services. His widespread knowledge helps clients identify and acquire income producing properties and value-ad development opportunities.