Tools for Community Participation

Community Comprehensive Plans

Your community can be prepared for the next development proposal that comes along by conducting a local comprehensive community planning process now. This process calls for the community to come together over a period of about a year and discuss their shared values and long term goals.

These goals and specific development and conservation objectives can be committed to writing and adopted by your locally elected officials. The resulting Community Comprehensive Plan is a document that developers and regulators must consider when evaluating proposals.

This process allows your community to plan in a considered and deliberate manner rather than being rushed when a development proposal is unexpectedly presented for your consideration and review.

If your local Council has adopted a comprehensive community plan as law, then all future development proposals must be consistent with the plan – or the Council may chose to adopt an amendment to the plan that allows for some version of the development proposal. Either way, it is a good tool to have in place to begin the conversation with developers.

Community Education

CES and its partners offer environmental training courses that can help to prepare your community leaders and staff for evaluating development proposals through the NEPA process.  Visit the Additional Resources page for many additional federal and state agency websites that can serve as valuable resources for public education in your community.

Tours of Proposed Development Sites

The earlier your Council members and staff can get out to the proposed development site, the better you will be able to understand the potential impacts that the proposal may or may not have on your community. In addition, you or your officials may be able to visit similar sites elsewhere and come to better understand how they are developed and operated.

It is not unreasonable to ask the developer to cover the transportation costs for your council members to fly over and then tour the proposed site with knowledgeable members of their staff. If you are not able to get out to the site, then ask the developer to prepare an aerial photo or other visual materials that your Council can work with while they deliberate on their response to the proposal.