To actively involve the public in the process developing the Shawnee County Comprehensive Plan, we are regularly producing a series of "Big Ideas” summaries to cover its major topics. These will explain the background of the topic, relevant considerations, plan goals, and preliminary recommendations. It is our desire to engage and inform as much of the public as possible through these series, and they will be added to this website as they are publicly released. The introductory Big Ideas of "What is a Comprehensive Plan?" can be found here.
Good turnout and great ideas from our two design workshops on February 1st and 2nd. With about 30 attendees, the meetings allowed stakeholders to think critically about how Shawnee County may look in the future and add their voices to the plan!
What might Shawnee County look like 20 years from now? That is what Shawnee County is trying to answer at two upcoming public design workshops. Using projections of residential, commercial, and industrial growth through year 2040 and accounting for residents’ goals and objectives, the team will share future scenarios at the Design Workshops. The public is invited to come and fine-tune these ideas, and share their own on:
Because the plan will guide the County for the next 20 years as it makes decisions and policy about development, everyone who lives, works, shops, and plays in the county should have an opportunity to shape its future. If you have any questions about the Public Design Workshops on February 1st or 2nd, contact Thomas Dow, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The baseline analysis is an essential and distinct component of the Shawnee County Plan. This process identifies and analyzes existing conditions, demographic and economic facts, development contexts, and trends that provide a basis for the plan. Understanding these trends in each of the county’s communities, especially in Topeka, the largest population and economic center, is important.
To download the baseline analysis, click here!
If you have comments about the baseline analysis, share your thoughts by clicking the button on the right side of the page!
Two public open houses were held the evenings of October 27, 2016 and November 1, 2016 at Seaman and Washburn Rural High Schools. The community at large was invited to share their ideas for Shawnee County and work alongside the planning team to help create the comprehensive plan. The format began with a brief presentation introducing attendees to the planning process. This was followed by an open house during which attendees were invited to investigate boards with information collected thus far and to share their ideas, issues, and concerns with the planning team for incorporation into the development of the plan document. Approximately 36 people participated in these events.
Thursday, October 27 and Tuesday, November 1, 2016
The Shawnee County Planning Department, along with the consulting team of RDG Planning & Design and CFS Engineers, is developing a long-range Comprehensive Plan for unincorporated Shawnee County. The plan will guide the County as it makes decisions about the physical development of the county through the next 20 years. Accordingly, it will address and establish long-range policy for land use planning, transportation, economic development, housing, public facilities, cultural and natural resources, agricultural land, intergovernmental cooperation, and budgetary and capital improvement planning. The comprehensive plan will be completed by June 2017.
In order to engage the public to identify issues and refine our current findings, goals, and objectives, two public open houses will be held Thursday, October 27 at Seaman High School, 4850 NW Rochester Road, Topeka, in the Band Room; and Tuesday, November 1 at Washburn Rural High School, 5900 SW 61st Street, Topeka, in the Library. Both meetings will be held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The consultants will share a quick presentation and the rest of the open house will be an informal setting where the public conversationally respond to and discuss ideas. Everyone with an interest is invited to attend.
As a “blueprint” for the future of the county, the plan must be based on the desires and vision of the county’s residents because ultimately the plan is created by, owned by, and championed by the community and its members. Consequently, it is imperative that the Shawnee County 2037 Comprehensive Plan accurately reflects the desires of the people who live, work, shop and play in Shawnee County. These meetings provide one way to participate, and the public has also been encouraged take its online survey. For more information about planning in Shawnee County, the Shawnee County 2037 Comprehensive Plan, and public engagement activities, contact Thomas Dow, at email@example.com.
This September has been an especially busy one! Early in the month we met with the County and Planning Commissions to explain the planning process and to get some initial feedback about the direction of the project. Following that, the steering committee met for a third time on September 13 to discuss their vision for the future of the county. This was followed by seven stakeholder meetings, including utility providers, mineral resource extraction interests, economic development organizations, agricultural interests, environmental, historical, and tourism interests, and political entities such as City, School District, Rural Water District, Township, Rural Fire District, Drainage District, and Watershed District representatives. In total, more than 50 stakeholders were able to contribute their expertise and input into the future of the County.
Common themes discussed in those meetings included balancing the need for regulating development while respecting landowners, the ability of a skilled and able workforce to attract employers, the importance of coordinating infrastructure with development and adequately maintaining it, and the need to protect and build upon Shawnee County's abundant natural resources.
For more detailed information regarding the meetings and their discussions, see this memo.
The second Steering Committee meeting was held August 9th to more fully understand the current situation within the region. The presentation and initial survey results can be seen here.
The Steering Committee for the Shawnee County Tomorrow Plan 2036 held its first meeting at the end of June! To learn more, download the summary of the meeting's activity.
Shawnee County has recently undertaken the task of updating its comprehensive plan for the unincorporated areas. So what exactly is a comprehensive plan? In general, a comprehensive plan is an official public document adopted by local government as a policy guide to decisions about the physical development of the community. The plan provides a vision for what the community wants to become in the future and the steps that need to be taken to reach that vision. Accordingly, the comprehensive plan will address and establish long-range policy for land use planning, transportation, economic development, housing, public facilities, historic, cultural and natural resources, agricultural land preservation, intergovernmental cooperation, budget and capital improvement planning and other facets of community life deemed important by Shawnee County.
The comprehensive plan will provide a guide for orderly growth that balances environmental values and reasonable development demand over the next 20-years. This framework will provide clear and predictable guidance to developers, stakeholders and citizens; help maintain collaborative and respectful relationships within the county; establish policies and priorities for coordinated development in conjunction with minimum levels of service standards; and, provide strategies to encourage economic development, quality residential growth, and general improvements for the protection and improvement of the quality of life for the residents and businesses of Shawnee County.
The comprehensive plan should guide future land use, and public investment and development decisions to protect natural resources, prime agricultural lands and enhance quality of life. The plan will be a “blueprint” for the future of the county based on the desires and vision of the county’s residents. Ultimately, the plan is created by, owned and championed by the community and its members. The County believes that a successful comprehensive plan is one that will be widely understood and embraced by the public, described in a document that will interest and engage ordinary citizens, and be used regularly as a decision-making tool. The comprehensive planning process will be conducted over the course of one-year and conclude with a final document for public hearing by May/June 2017.
To ensure that the plan represents the vision of those who live, work, and play in the county, we encourage you to share your opinions and join in the public participation process. To learn how to participate and contact us directly, visit the "contact" tab. In addition, feel free to take our online survey and learn about public meetings on the "meeting announcements" tab. We look forward to hearing from you!