Robust Outreach and Engagement
The city formed a citizen advisory team and named the process “Imagine Westerville.” Planning NEXT worked with the citizen team to organize a robust public engagement effort that included traditional word-of-mouth outreach, a project website and a media campaign.
A three-day Community Planning Workshop drew nearly 250 people and consisted of two evening public meetings, a drop-in work day and stakeholder interviews. It was the first time that most participants had ever been engaged to express their views about the city’s future. Later, a Community Choices Workshop focused participants on evaluating various alternative development approaches the city could undertake. A set of open houses were held at the end of the process to share the draft recommendations.
Modeling and Testing Land Use Scenarios
Team member Kimley-Horn modeled three development scenarios that focused on potential change within eight “strategic locations,” which included undeveloped sites and redevelopment areas. The development scenarios were modeled as a tool to help consider the effects of different potential futures for the community and how factors such as population growth, transportation demand, job growth and income tax revenue could be impacted by planning and zoning decisions. At the Community Choices workshop, these scenarios were tested with the public and the input informed a preferred scenario, which became the basis for the future land use plan.
The face-to-face engagement opportunities were supplemented by interactive online activities to solicit additional community input. From that input came a preferred citywide development framework and area plans for the eight strategic locations. The city then hosted an open house for each of the eight target areas where the residents, businesses and other stakeholders located within or nearby each of the eight areas were invited to review the draft area plan and give feedback.