AN ANALYSIS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING PROCESS DEVELOPED BY THE CITY OF ARVACA
AN ANALYSIS OF PROCESS
DEVELOPED BY THE CITY OF ARVADA
Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Planning and Community Development The University of Colorado at Denver in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
MASTER OF PLANNING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT DENVER May, 198A
TABLE OF CONTENTS
III. Location and History of the City of Arvada.......... 1
IV. Demographics of the City of Arvada
Land Use and Zoning Characteristics................. 6
Housing Characteristics............................ 11
Demographic Characteristics of the Population...... 12
Revenues and Outlays for City Services............. 16
V. City of Arvada Political and Administrative
City Council....................................... 18
Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem............................ 19
City Manager....................................... 20
Neighborhood Citizens.............................. 21
VI. City of Arvada Planning Department
Comprehensive Function............................. 23
Current Planning................................... 26
Community Development.............................. 27
VII. The City of Arvada Neighborhood Planning Process
Purpose of Arvada Neighborhood Planning............ 32
Study Area Boundaries.............................. 32
Citizen Participation Process...................... 37
Implementation of the Plan......................... 41
Accomplishments of the Program..................... 44
VIII. Analysis of the Neighborhood Planning Process
An Overview of the General Problem................. 47
The Citizen Participation Process.................. 48
The Formulation of Goals and Objectives............ 54
The Cyclical Planning Process...................... 57
LIST OF FIGURES
1. Location of the City of Arvada........................ 1
2. Location of the Original Plat to the City of
Arvada, 1904.......................................... 2
3. Estimated Population by Year for the City of
4. Incorporated Land by Designated Year.................. 4
5. Acreage Increases for the City of Arvada.............. 6
6. Zoning District Acreages.............................. 7
7. Comparative Land Uses................................. 8
8. Location of Arvada Urban Renewal Area................. 9
9. Residential Dwelling Units by Designated Year....... 11
10. Ethnicity of the City of Arvada...................... 13
11. Age of Household Head and Spouse in the City
of Arvada.......................................... 13
12. Comparison of Median Household Income for
Selected Cities...................................... 15
13. Expenditure by Department.......................... 17
14. Map of City Council Districts........................ 18
15. City of Arvada Organizational Chart.................. 19
16>. The Political Process and the City of Arvada
Planning Department.................................. 21
17. Planning Department Organizational Chart............. 23
18. The Cyclical Planning Process........................ 26
19. Location of the Southeast Arvada Neighborhood
Development Plan Area................................ 33
20. Comparison of Land Uses.............................. 34
21. Study Area Neighborhood.............................. 35
22. Proposed Neighborhood Strategy Areas................. 35
23. Final Selection of Neighborhood Strategy Areas...... 36
24. Comparison of Study Area Demographics................ 49
25. Neighborhood Meeting Directive Chart................. 51
26. Citizen Advisory Committee Directive Chart........... 54
The City of Arvada, located in the Denver Metropolitan Area, has grown considerably from a small farming community to its present form as a large residential suburban community. From the time of its first settlement to the mid-nineteen fifties, growth was slow and minimal; but, an intense flurry of residential development skyrocketed growth during the sixties and early seventies. Today growth has stabilized, but is still ever present.
Because a large flux of development occurred in the sixties and early seventies, large tracts of the city are just now beginning to feel the effects of age. Also, the oldest part of the city, including the original plat, is in desperate need of work. In both cases the areas are either currently plagued or on the border of exhibiting problems, social inequities, development pressures, and a host of miscellaneous problems associated with the age of the respective neighborhood.
In a reaction to the gradual aging of city neighborhoods the City of Arvada City Council prompted the planning department to make a comprehensive study of Southeast Arvada. During the fall of I98O the Southeast Arvada
Neighborhood Development Plan was adopted. This was the City of Arvada's initial effort at neighborhood planning which is still being developed today.
The directing mechanism for neighborhood planning in the City of Arvada is the U.S. Community Development Block Grant Program. Funding for the neighborhood planning process comes exclusively from this source, and influences the organization and direction of the planning process. The one internal component of the C.D.B.G. Program that directly controls the development of the neighborhood plans is the designation of neighborhood strategy areas (NSA). These areas are small geographical units selected to provide substantial, long lasting improvements within a reasonable period of time. The final boundaries selected for the neighborhood strategy areas ultimately represent the neighborhood planning boundaries for the City of Arvada.
This document provides an analysis of the City of Arvada's initial attempt at neighborhood planning, and outlines a series of recommendations intended to strengthen the effort in future years. The document is divided into three major components. To give a better understanding about the City of Arvada, and site demographic trends for
future considerations, the first part is devoted to general information about the city. The second part outlines the initial and current neighborhood plans activated by the City of Arvada, and the final part indentifies problems with the neighborhood planning process and provides recommendations to enhance it in the future.
Working for the City of Arvada on the second neighborhood strategy area neighborhood plan (Reno-Loberg NSA) provided me with the opportunity to undertake this endeavor. It presented an ideal situation to apply my scholastic skills in analyzing the neighborhood planning process, while actually being employed to work on the plan. The criteria for analyzing this program is drawn from the following sources:
1. Prevelant planning principles, concepts, and theories researched from planning literature,
2. The political and administrative criteria set forth by the City of Arvada, and
3. personal observations and expectations while actually working on the neighborhood plan.
The larger extent of this analysis is based on ideas generated from the professional literature and my personal experiences. Not only did the readings provide me with valuable and new concepts, but it also helped in fine tuning my personal perceptions of the appropriate way to approach planning. The range of information researched encompassed citizen participation, community action, neighborhood power, governmental administrative
principles, governmental regulations, neighborhood plans developed by other municipalities, and other neighborhood
planning processes. Using established principles, concepts, and standards, the neighborhood planning process initiated by the City of Arvada was compared against them.
The criteria set by the Arvada City Council was also used to analyze the effectiveness of the plan. The Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan outlined the intent of the process, as specified by the council:
1. Examine the needs and characteristics of those residential areas within the study area.
2. Consult with and/or provide a means by which citizens in the area could provide advice on neighborhood needs, goals and specific objectives.
3. Establish a Neighborhood Advisory Committee on planning and improvement needs within the study area. Provide a detailed listing and identify the location of capital or public improvements, programs, or services needed within the study
area over the next ten years.
5. Define the boundaries for one or more Neighborhood Strategy Areas (NSA) within the study area which
meet federal requirements and within which Community Development Block Grants and other
funds can be applied in a systematic and logical
manner to achieve substantial improvements over a four to six year period.
6. Prepare a realistic three to five year development plan which details and prioritizes the specific types of improvements, programs, facilities, and/or public services which should be provided within designated neighborhood strategy area(s) along with cost estimates.
7. Identify and recommend funding sources for implementing the three to five year development plan.
8. Coordinate the study and development plan with existing city plans or policy.*
Other city documents were also reviewed to determine whether the process utilized and took into account other goals related to the entire community.
From these major criteria sources a subjective analysis of the neighborhood planning process was undertaken. Although a small segment of this thesis reflects on its effectiveness at meeting goals set forth by the city, most of the analysis is devoted to its relation with widely accepted planning principles, concepts, and standards.
City of Arvada Planning Department, Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan. Arvada, Colorado: City of Arvada, 1980 pp.1-2
LOCATION AND HISTORY OF THE
CITY OF ARVADA
Located within the Denver Metropolitan Area, the City of Arvada is situated approximately seven miles northwest of downtown Denver. The cities of Westminster and Wheatridge border Arvada to the north and south respectively, and unincorporated lands lie to the east and west. Arvada lies within the jurisdictional boundaries of Jefferson County, Colorado, with the County seat located in Golden. Golden is about ten miles west of downtown Arvada.
Source: Comprehensive Plan, City of
Arvada Planning Department, I98O
The City of Arvada was incorporated in August 190^, and consisted primarily of the area now known as Olde Town Arvada.*
Olde Town is located within the southeastern part of the City of Arvada adjacent to the Colorado and Southern Railroad Tracks. Since the first settlement in 1859. the city has grown from a farm community to the surburban city of today. After the initial settlements to the area,
LOCATION OF ORIGINAL PLAT TO THE CITY OF ARVADA 1904
!ijl L jtJu
^.SOUTHEAST ARVADA NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN.
Source: Arvada Historical Society
others were to follow prompting a large demand for consumer services. Even before the incorporation of Arvada, as a town, numerous businesses thrived and small manufacturing plants were located throughout the downtown area. Also,
a water supply had been established using a canal system,
and a road network was instituted.
Although the community was capable of providing essential services to its residents, it was not long before the push for incorporation was made. It took a total of four elections to approve the incorporation referendum, and the process, which started in 188?, took a total of 17 years to finalize.3
Source: Comprehensive Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, 1980
Following incorporation in 1904, the City of Arvada continued to grow in population at a very slow pace. From 1904 to 1950, the average increase in population amounted
Sources Comprehensive Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, I98O
to approximately 2# annually. A small amount of additional land was also annexed during this period, and was minimal compared to future annexation.
The greatest population boom to the City of Arvada began in the 1950's. The growth closely paralleled that of the
City of Denver and its surrounding communities. From 1950 to 1980, the population of Arvada had dramatically increased from 2,359 to 8^,500 residents. This phenomenal growth was accomplished in just 30 years. The development and extension of the interstate highway system, the corresponding proliferation of automobile useage, and the tremendous demand for housing after World War II directed growth to the suburban fringe. Although vast tracts of land were availabe for development in any direction from the City of Denver, Arvada had the needed prerequisites for rapid residential growth. The City was a long established municipality, had no geopraphical limitations on growth, and was capable of providing services and infrastructure.
Today the City of Arvada is still continuing to grow, although at a much more moderate rate than the previous 30 years. The city is now entering a new era of growth and demands. Many of the neighborhoods developed in the last 30 years are beginning to either stabilize or experience a period of transition. Some of the neighborhoods are experiencing problems attributable to older residential areas. What were once vibrant, new neighborhoods are now succumbing to problems associated with "older" urban areas: crime, deteriorating housing, inadequate public services,etc. It is now up to the City of Arvada to take positive action towards preserving a high quality environment.
Publication Committee of the Arvada Historical Society,
Mora Than Gold; A History of Arvada. Colorado, During the Period 1870-190^. Boulder, Colorado: Johnson Publishing Co., 1976 pp. 179-180
2 Ibid, pp. 139-152
3 Ibid, pp. 17^-177
DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE
CITY OF ARVADA
LAND USE AND ZONING CHARACTERISTICS
To accommodate the population growth, land that once supported primarily agricultural uses was converted for other uses, providing the City of Arvada with a more diversified system of land uses. The total amount of land annexed to the city has grown at a rapid rate since the mid-1950's. Since 1957# the city has increased total acreage from 2,310 acres to 12,279 acres of city lands, accounting for a substantial increase in the size of the city.
Source: Land Use Zoning and Population Summary,
City of Arvada Planning Department, 1983
To regulate this growth, the City of Arvada instituted zoning regulations identifying development criteria for future developments.
ZONING DISTRICT ACREAGE WITHIN ARVADA CITY LIMITS
ZONING DISTRICT VACANT dia i:i.oi*i:d TOTA1.
C-l, Conservation II.U 56.9 56.9
A-l, Agricultural <)55.2 0.0 655.2
R-E, Residential Estate 27.2 335.1 :n>2.3
R-L, Residential Low Density 259.8 5639.8 5899 6
R-SL, Residential Small Lot Low Density 133.0 233.1 it>0.1
R-l, One and Two Family 4.9 130.1 1:15.0
R-MD, Residential Medium Density 5i.: 7.1 58.4
R-M, Multiple Residence 114.4 478.8 593.2
P-1, Professional Office 31.5 63.8 95.3
B-1, Neighborhood Business 14.0 7.4 21.4
B-2, (icneral Business 306.1 401.6 707.7
B-:J, Central Business III) 36.7 36.7
B-4. 1 leiivy Commercial 9.7 69.5 79.2
I-1, Light Industrial 74.1 141.0 215.4
1-2, Heavy Industrial ilG.ti 49.5 86.1
PUD-R, Planned- Unit Development Residential hit). 4 1792.7 2409.1
PUD-BP, Planned Unit Dcvelopmeni/Business and Professional PUD-BPR, Planned Unit Development Business, Professional 164.3 37.2 201.5
and Residential 38.1 25.4 63.5
PUD-1, Planned Unit Development Industrial 128.6 118.3 246.9
TOTAL As of January 1, 1980 2,665.5 9,624.0 12,289.5
Sources Comprehensive Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, 1980
Although the city has established a diversity of zones
encompassing residential, commerical, agricultural, and
other uses, most of the developments in Arvada are single-family
detached housing. Of the total land in Arvada, 46$ is
devoted to residential single-family (R-L Zone), which
has a minimum lot size of 7500 square feet. In comparison,
all of the multi-family zones combined constitute only 7$
of the total acreage in the city.*
COMPARATIVE LAND USES*
Percentage ol Developed Land in Arvada Percentage ol Zoned Land in Arvada Percentage ol Land Use in Proposed (.icy Land Use Plan Average Percencage ol Developed Land in 10 Satellite Cities Over 25,000 in Population in Nation**
sixeu-: famil y (Includes Estate and R-E. R-L 1UD-R Zones) 09.11 7:1.5 56.8 46.1
SUI.IWA.UILY (Include) Duplexes or R-l. R-MD, R-M Zones) 7.4 6.4 !).9 15.7
COMMHKCIAL (Includes Olliee Rack and R-l, II-1, 11-2, K-l, U-4, RUD-Ulj, RUD-HRR, Zones) 6.4 9.8 1.2 4.6
INDUSTRIAL (Includes 1-1, 1-2, PUD-1 Zones) 3.0 4.5 5.9 20.2
PARKS JA7) OPEN SPACE (Intitules Agriculture .inti CM J A-1 Zones) 8.4 5.8 14.6 5.2
FI HI.IQAND QUASI ll BLIC (No Such Zoning Dislria) 3.0 5.5 10.2
IVIAL llCKFS 9,024 12,289.5 16,250 ...
* Denver Regional Count il ol liovt-rnmeills estimates reveal that 2.1til'the households to he added to the Citys |>opulatiun lie!wee11 l!77 UU will have incomes that will not lx- sul'licienl to allow them to buy a home in Arvada This estimate is conservative and il the existing inllation tale in housing toitliuucd, (hat percentage will probably lx- higher
**Th: Ten Cities All cities are satellite Cities with |>opiilaiinn ol over 25,000 people Beverly Hills, Culil'oniui t Wool illicit l, New Jersey Last Chicago. Indiana Hast Orange, New Jersey Hast St. Louis. Illinois Kvunston, Illinois lr.muioii. New |frwv M.i\wimnI. Illinois New Westminster. British Columbia Oak Park. Illinois
Source: Comprehensive Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, I98O
Whatever new commercial development has taken place in Arvada is relatively minimal, in relation to the residential growth of the city. Olde Town Arvada, which is considered Arvada's downtown area, primarily houses second-hand, antique or specialty shops. A few of the stores do provide essential goods and services for nearby residents. Most of the major retail trade is dispersed throughout the city located along the major traffic arterials. The City of Arvada does not have the luxury of a central shopping area.
Source: Arvada City Center, Carl A. Worthington Partnership, I98O
However, Arvada is making an effort in developing a regional shopping/office complex adjacent to the "downtown" area, identified as the Arvada City Center. It is situated at the intersections of Interstates 70 and ?6, and Wadsworth Boulevard, comprising 500 acres.^ When completed, it is hoped that the project will insure the City of Arvada a substantial tax base for future revenues. Although the project will undoubtedly benefit the City of Arvada, it has become a controversial project due to its proximity to the adjacent residential neighborhoods. A sizeable proportion of these neighborhoods are in the neighborhood planning areas.
These neighborhoods on the fringe or within the urban renewal boundaries are sure to feel the impact from its development. Residential land will be lost to conversion to commercial uses, streets and land speculation. Also, more intense residential development may begin appearing around the complex, and the quiet residential atmosphere will give way to increased traffic uses and pedestrian activity. All of these effects need to be planned for to minimize them and make the project a beneficial asset to the community. For this reason, the neighborhood plans of the City of Arvada should be directed to ensure a desirable environment in the future.
Having an incredible growth rate in the last 30 years, the City of Arvada has a relatively new housing stock.
Total units have increased from 2,066 in 195^ to 29,383 in 1980. Of these 75# are single family detached units.
Over 1/3 of these units are now twenty years of age or or older, and as such are beginning to exhibit signs of age.
Sources Comprehensive Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, 1980
A few of these signs include minor roof problems, intermittent failure of electrical and plumbing parts, weathered paint, and general worn-out conditions. Not only do these conditions effect the livability of the house, but can also lead to the general deteriorating quality of the neighborhood.
DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POPULATION Although the City of Arvada has grown, the community's social demographics have remained virtually constant.
The city is characterized by a very homogenious racial balance with 96# of the population being Caucasian.
This leaves 4# minority population, with Mexican-Americans being the largest minority group representing 1.4# of all the minorities. The basic ancestory groups of the Caucasian population originated from Germany, England and Ireland. Although 50# of the Caucasian population is listed as having multiple ancestory, these three nationalities still are predominantly strong in the community.
Although Arvada has witnessed an abundance of in-migration, a large section of the population is native to the State
vvum Rrspondams 95.0
asian, pacific: .4
INDIAN OTHIIKS 2.0
AGE OF HOUSEHOLD HEAD AND SPOUSE
THAN 24 25-34 35-44 45-5 4 55-64 OLDER
Head ol Household 3% 29 Vi 27% 2IV< 13 Vc 7%
Spouse 4 33 27 19 11 4
Average 4 31 27 20 12 h
Sources Comprehensive Plan, City of
Arvada Planning Department, 1980
of Colorado, and in some instances to the City of Arvada itself. Native Coloradoans comprise of Arvada's total population which is substantial compared to a population increase of 75.18^ residents between 1955 and I98O. The community has also begun to stabilize in recent years. Of the people presently residing in Arvada, only were residing in the City of Denver in 1975*
Only of Arvada's population is attributed to areas outside the Denver SMSA previous to 1975* Thus, a
substantial percentage of the population has lived in Arvada or surrounding communities since 1975*
Age is a further substantiating variable supporting a stabilizing community. The median age in the City of Arvada is from 25 to 29 years old? however, the highest percentage of the population ranges in the 35 to 44 age groups. The ages ranging from 25 to 59 years account for 48% of the total population. A high marriage rate also corresponds to these age categories. Sixty-six percent of the people in Arvada are currently married.
Although the City of Arvada has prospered in housing development, commercial development has remained relatively stagnant over the years. Arvada is still viewed as a "bedroom community to Denver. A substantial proportion of its residents work within the City of Denver, which accounts for 35# of Arvadas work force. Only 1?% of the residents actually work within the City of Arvada.
The remaining work force commute to other communities in the Denver SMSA, or leaves the area completely.
The employment problem in the area correlates with many of the transportation problems plaguing the Denver area.
In Arvada the primary means of transportation is the automobile; car, truck, motorcycle, etc. Of automobile use, 70f of the vehicles carry only one rider per trip, while only 21% carpool. Only 4# of Arvada's population uses any form of public transportation.
Although the work force in Arvada is spread all around the Denver Metropolitan Area the city has the advantage of a rather high median income in the community. The
ARVADA AURORA BOULDER COLORADO DENVER ENGLEWOOO FORT GRAIO
SPRIGS COLLINS JUNCTION
Source: 1980 Census of Population and Housing,
average median income in Arvada is well above the state average. In 1980 the City of Arvada had an average of $24,7^7 per household compared to $18,057 for the State of Colorado, and $15507 for the City of Denver. This average places Arvada as having one of the highest average median incomes in the state.
REVENUES AND OUTLAYS FOR CITY SERVICES The City of Arvada has had success in the past meeting its revenue needs to provide public services. However, future projections show a bleak picture of things to come.
It is estimated that the city will be facing deficits in the near future if current trends continue. Decisions will have to be made to ensure fiscal soundness in the years ahead.
The revenue problems the City of Arvada has been experiencing gradually worked its way into decisions regarding department outlays. The planning department is afforded only 2% of total city funding, and as such is limited in its capacity to expand the neighborhood planning program. In fact, all funds allocated to the neighborhood planning program are allocated from the Community Development Block Grant funds, which account for only 2% of city funding.
Although the planning department is relatively weak in terms of funding, the neighborhood planning process is an important function. Not only do the neighborhoods benefit, but the city receives a return on their investment. By indentifying, prioritizing, and planning for the neighborhoods, a more cost efficient and effective means of administering the city can be implemented.
Annual Budget, City of Arvada, 1983
Multi-family residential areas include duplexes, townhouses, condominiums, and apartment complexes.
Carl A. Worthington Partnership, Arvada City Center, Urban Design and Redevelopment Plan for the City of Arvada, Boulder, Colorado, I98O pp.2
CITY OF ARVADA POLITICAL AND
The City of Arvada is represented by a Council-Manager form of government which is authorized in the Municipal Charter. Home rule in the City of Arvada was adopted by the citizenry on January 8, 1963.^ By instituting the Council-Manager relationship, the city council became the statutory authority for the City of Arvada. The Arvada City Council consists of seven members, of which four represent established districts, and three members are elected at large. The city is divided into four districts each representing a reasonably equal number of residents. Because the city council is the statutory authority for the city it is the responsible entity for adopting and enforcing neighborhood plans.
Sources Citizens Attitude Survey, City of Arvada, I983
MAYOR AND MAYOR PRQ-TEM
The Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem are elected by the council from within their own ranks. Once appointed to these positions, each person still has all the powers, rights, and priviledges conferred upon them as council members.
The position of mayor is little more than a "figure head" who presides over council meetings. The power granted the mayor does not provide a political edge over fellow council members. The mayor serves at the pleasure of the council.
CITY OF ARVADA ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
CITY MANAGER I
f| SERVICES FINANCE PERSONNEL CENTER
CITY CLERK _ DEP CITY M UTY ANAGER
ASSISTANTS TC CITY MANAGER
p PUBLIC SAFETY RESOURCES r-< PUBLIC WORKS |-| PLANNING
1 GENERAL SERVICES
BILLING AND ACCOUNTING
PROJECT j PLANNING [
Source: Comprehensive Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, 1980
Although the council is the sole authority for actions by the City of Arvada, they do not have the responsibility of running the adminstrative aspects of the city. It is the responsibility of the city council to delegate this authority to another entity. The council appoints a city manager to handle these duties, who is given the title of the Chief Executive and Administrative Officer of the City. This individual is responsible to the city council for the proper administration of all city affairs charged to him, and has been granted the power and duty to carry out a number of responsibilities. Those responsibilities that have a direct influence on the development of the neighborhood planning process and its relative effectiveness includes
1. provide for enforcement of the laws and ordinances of the City of Arvada;
2. prepare and submit an annual budget to council for approval, and upon approval provide for its administration;
3. attend council meetings and participate in advisory capacity;
keep the public informed on city activities;
3. provide for services required by the City of Arvada.2
Being the prime executive and administrative officer of the city, all operations of departments are under his direction, and as such has the ability to promote the neighborhood planning process.
ORGANIZATION FOR PLANNING IN ARVADA
CITIZENS OF ARVADA
Three members elected at targe Four members ejected from districts Mayor selected by Council from thee- membership
Source: Comprehensive Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, 1980
Being elected by the general public requires that each councilperson be responsive to the concerns of their constituents. For this reason, the citizens of the general community and each neighborhood have the real power to make decisions regarding the future development of their neighborhoods. This is one source that should
be imple: the
pped to encourage the development, funding, and mentation of neighborhood plans designed to benefit citizens of the City of Arvada,
City of Arvada, Colorado, Home Rule Charter, 1963, Ibid, Article 6.3. pp.17
THE CITY OF ARVADA PLANNING DEPARTMENT
As the City of Arvada grew at alarming rates since the mid-fifties, it became imperative that the city get a handle on the situation. In 1967 the City of Arvada established its first planning department.^- Since its conception, it has expanded to include a staff of nine planners, plus a number of support personnel. Just as the staff has grown, so has the volume of work delegated to the department.
Source: City of Arvada Planning Department, I983
A duty of the planning department is to continually update the city's comprehensive plan. The first
comprehensive plan was adopted in 1964, only to be scrapped for a new plan following the elections of 1965. The I965 document provided development guidance until 1973
In 1970, an on-going, comprehensive planning effort was initiated to either replace or update the existing plan.
For the first time, citizen participation was used to direct the goals and standards for the city.3 The 1973 plan was adopted as the primary planning document to
guide future development in the City of Arvada.
"The Comprehensive Plan for the City of Arvada", adopted in 1973 and updated in 1978, is designed to promote and protect the general public interest. The primary uses of the plan include policy determination, policy implementation, communication, coordination, and education.^ In policy determination the city council has adopted a unified set of policies, and established a physical design for the city which allows for the orderly expansion of capital infrastructure and improvements. Policy implementation allows the council and planning commission the opportunity to relate back to the plan's framework when making decisions. Also, when decisions are made, a common set of policies coordinates all levels of the city's administration.
The document also specified its use to educate and direct the city council, planning commission, and the city administration, and unify all policies into a single
source availabe to all segments of the community.
One element of the comprehensive plan relates to neighborhood planning principles. The "neighborhood unit concept" is the basis for development of the City of Arvada and should be used as a guiding instrument.
Among its many principles advocated by the city are:
1. schools and parks within a one half-mile radius;
2. major streets around rather then through a neighborhood;
3. neighborhood stores and services;
a population large enough to justify an elementary school.^
With these being general principles, it allows for individual development of neighborhood plans designed to suit the neighborhood. However, because of this elements importance to the city, these principles should be used in guiding the planning process.
Although the comprehensive plan's primary responsibility is to direct the city's actions, it is always subject to a continual, comprehensive update. It stresses the importance for a cyclical planning process. Goals and policies are formulated, evaluated, and implemented by more specific programs. Once the programs have been
Source: Comprehensive Plan,
City of Arvada Planning Department,
initiated, constant evaluation of them is essential to proceed with or adjust the program accordingly. The goals themselves change as social, economic, political, physical and other variables constantly evolve. The emphasis of the cyclical planning approach in the comprehensive plan also supports the same commitment towards all other planning efforts initiated by the city.
As a consequence of rapid growth for the city and the relative size of the planning staff, the City of Arvada Planning Department devotes most of its resources and
time to current planning activities. This encompasses annexation proceedings, code enforcement, zoning, and subdivision review. Of these activities, subdivision reviews take up most of staff time.
Subdivision applications are assigned to a planner who takes them through the process of technical reviews, plat revisions, staff reports, and submission to council for final approval. This leaves relatively little time to devote to other planning activities.
A separate function of the planning department is the administration of Community Development Block Grant funds by the community development division. Among the programs administered are the Arvada Public Housing Assistance Program (Section 8 Housing), the Housing Rehabilitation Program, and the Neighborhood Strategy Area Program. As a component of the federal Community Development Block Grant Program, the NSA Program is used as the premise for neighborhood planning in the City of Arvada.
The Community Development Block Grant Program is the Federal mechanism providing the financial incentive for neighborhood planning in the City of Arvada. It is authorized under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 197**, which was designed to replace a number of catagorical urban programs consolidated by the act. The primary objective of the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) is to promote viable local communities, by providing decent housing and economic opportunities, especially benefiting low to moderate income families. All actions taken are directed at the preservation, reconditioning, and stabilization of a community's economic, physical, and social qualities.
Although some technical assistance is provided through the Housing and Community Development Act of 197^, the primary means of assistance is in the public financial sector. The City of Arvada is eligible to receive annual federal funding based on the city's designation as an "entitlement city". Any municipal locality with a population of at least 50*000 residents, according to United States Census Bureau data, is automatically entitled to a prorated share of CDBG funds designated by Congress. Eighty percent (80%) of the net CDBG funds are targeted for
United States metropolitan areas.
Because of its status as an "entitlement city", the City of Arvada is required to meet explicit federal requirements. Along the annual and triennial submission requirements, local planning considerations are part of the program. The CDBG Program stresses comprehensive studies, coordination of local programs, planning and implementing multiyear projects and delineating neighborhood strategy areas (NSA). Federal CDBG funds are to be used in the preparation of plans incorporating these components.
The component of greatest importance to the City of Arvadas neighborhood planning effort is the designation of NSA's. Community development activities are concentrated in a confined geographical area to provide the most effective and efficient use of CDBG funding. The intent of an NSA designation is to provide for a combination of community improvements. The effort is not solely directed at physical improvements. It also provides for improvements in public facilities and services, housing projects, private investment, and citizen self-help programs. By providing funding for these programs, long-term improvements should be accomplished within a reasonable period of time.
Another important requirement of the CDBG program is to enhance the citizen participation process. The program makes it mandatory that citizen input be incorporated into the planning framework. The citizenry should be allowed to perform in at least an advisory capacity throughout the process. The form and extent of participation is at the discretion of the local government, and the authority for development of the final plan is still a function of the planning department.
The last important CDBG requirement specifically states that any programs or projects have to benefit a substantial
number of low and moderate income families. The primary statutory provision of the Housing and Community Development Act relates to the provision of decent housing and economic opportunities, principally to families of low or moderate income. There is a direct correlation between "bad" neighborhood conditions and the income of its residents. Because the stated objective of the CDBG program is to aid deteriorating urban neighborhoods, there is also an indirect effect on the residing population by making for a more viable, healthful, and asthetically pleasing environment. For this reason the benefit requirement is strictly enforced.
The City of Arvada, following the intent of the CDBG program, has commited funds to a number of community services and projects. In recent years the city has targeted CDBG funds to an Essential Home Repairs / Housing Rehabilitation Program, in an attempt to preserve and upgrade homes in older sections of the city. The ultimate intent is to provide decent, affordable housing to all segments of the population. Funds have also been distributed to senior's programs. However, the most substantial proportion of the funding has been directed to capital improvements projects within the designated NSA's.
This trend is likely to continue through the duration of the Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan.
City of Arvada Planning Department, Comprehensive Plan for the City of Arvada. Arvada, Colorado, I98O pp.2
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Development and Planning, Consolidated Community Development Block Grant Populations. Handbook 6520.1, I98O Section 570.101, pp.Bl-B2
Ibid, Section 570.302, pp. D5
THE NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING PROCESS: NEIGHBORHOOD STRATEGY AREAS (NSA)
PURPOSE OF ARVADA NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING
The City of Arvada Planning Department's inaugural attempt at neighborhood planning was made with the Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan. Commissioned in 1978 by the Arvada City Council, its stated purpose was to provide a comprhensive study of the southeastern section of the city.^ Because the area includes the oldest part of the city, many of the public capital facilities are deteriorating. Also, the area is in the midst of a transition stage from a well established residential neighborhood to a more transient populated area. Rental residential units accounted for 25# of the housing stock in the southeast area, and in the two NSA's the range was from ^-2# to 52#. Also, much of the population constituted young couples who were just starting their families and intended to move in the near future.
STUDY AREA BOUNDARIES
The area designated for the Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan incorporates approximately 2,615 acres of land lying in the southeast section of the City of Arvada.^ This section of land accounts for 21# of all land within the city limits. However the area is dissected into two smaller "neighborhoods" for planning purposes.
Included in the Southeast Arvada Study Area is the original plat to the city. In addition to the original plat, a substantial portion of the area has the oldest housing in the city. The boundaries approximate W. 64th Avenue to the north, Sheridan Boulevard to the east, 1-70 and Clear Creek to the south, and Kipling Street to the west.
LOCATION OF SOUTHEAST ARVADA NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN AREA
Source: S.E. Arvada Neighborhood Plan, City of Arvada
Planning Department, 1980
COMPARABLE AREA SIZE
TOTAL ACRES % OF LAND IN CITY OF ARVADA % OF LAND IN S.E. PLANNING AREA
CITY OF ARVADA 12,415 100%
S.E. AREA 2,615 21% 100%
COLUMBINE NSA 193 2% 7%
RENO-LOBERQ NSA 218 2% 8%
Sources City of Arvada Planning Department, 1983
Although the initial study boundaries were rather broad to encompass the older, more deteriorating section of the city, the actual plan areas were narrowed down to much smaller dimensions. The two sub-areas are referred
to as Neighborhood Strategy Areas (NSA) as outlined in
the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).
The neighborhood strategy area represents a geographical
unit defined by the United States Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) and designated by local 3
governments. By identifying these areas it is hoped that the local government will direct sufficient resources to the area to provide long term improvements. The
Source: S.E. Arvada Neighborhood Plan,
City of Arvada Planning Department, 1980
Source: S.E. Arvada Neighborhood Plan, City of Arvada Planning Department, I98O
boundaries of the neighborhood strategy areas are established according to the following criteria.
1. More than 50% of the households in the neighborhood strategy area must have a total yearly income which is less than 80% of the median family income for the area.
2. The improvements to be made in the neighborhood strategy area must be of sufficient scope in relation to the needs of the area to produce substantial improvements within a reasonable period of time. At least 50% of the identified needs must be addressed within 4 to 6 years.
Source: S.E. Arvada Neighborhood Plan,
City of Arvada Planning Depertment,
3. The improvements to he made in the neighborhood
strategy area must be coordinated and mutually
supportive in order to work together to upgrade
and stabilize the area.
These criteria and the input from the Citizen's Advisory
Committee were used to identify and prioritize the Neighborhood
Strategy Areas. The primary reason the southeast area
was divided into smaller working areas is due to the
extensive capital improvement work required to bring
the whole area back to standard levels. The committee
felt directing their efforts to the large area could
not fulfill the second HUD guideline of achieving
substantial improvements within 4 to 6 years.^ From
this reasoning, the committee chose to recommend the
southeast area be separated into four individual
"neighborhoods"; however, the staff chose to target
only two NSA's after combining parts of the four selected
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION PROCESS
To formulate a workable plan that would truely reflect the needs and desires of area residents, a four component citizen participation process was instituted. The four
components included newspaper coverage, citizen outreach programs, a household survey, and a citizen advisory committee.^ To organize the citizen participation process a citizen participation coordinator was staffed.
For the newspaper coverage, the Denver Post and Arvada Sentinal were used due to the distribution in the area.
The newspapers informed the public about ongoing activities related to the neighborhood study. These media sources were particularly useful in alerting the residents to the distribution of the household survey.
The Citizen Outreach Program was intended to obtain
direct input from as many residents as possible. Because
public attendance at council meetings is relatively low
it was felt that the planning staff needed to approach
the community for their participation. The planning staff
decided to contact neighborhood oriented organizations
to request their input on the study. These meetings provided citizens the opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and share their views with others, as well as provide the basis for the project.
Only a very small proportion of the residents attended the meetings, and were primarily Caucasian persons,
composed of homemowners, long established residents, and older aged individuals. Although the meetings were intended to generate residents concerns, very few matters were brought to the attention of the planning staff. Consequently, most of the meeting was devoted to transmittal of information to the participants.
Although these meetings allowed the opportunity for citizens to participate, a large segment of the population still needed to be approached. To achieve this a household questionnaire was used to gather representive opinions from the neighborhood. Due to governmental constraints limiting the amount of CDBG funds for adminstrative costs, the entire Southeast Arvada Study Area could not be surveyed. The information generated from the survey was used in association with secondary data to direct the planning effort.
The last component of the citizen participation process was to formulate a citizens advisory committee made up of area residents. A list of volunteers was selected from outreach meetings, a response to a newspaper article, applications returned from a NSA brochure, and tenants enrolled in the Arvada Housing Authority's Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program. From this list
the planning staff selected a small number of volunteers to act as members of the committee, and forwarded the final recommendations to city council. The city council gave final approval to the composition of the committee, and authorized them to serve in an advisory capacity to the planning department.
One citizen advisory committee was selected for each of the two Neighborhood Strategy Areas the first one being the Columbine NSA and the second one being the Reno-Loberg NSA. Being the first advisory committee, the Columbine neighborhood group was responsible for identifying all the NSA boundaries and setting a priority to each.
The Columbine NSA had a total of 14 members on its committee at the start, but dwindled to 12 members by the end of its capacity. The Reno-Loberg NSA only had an initial 8 members, and by the end supported only 7 members. In each instance the intent was to have a committee that best reflected a geographical balance of the neighborhood.
In addition to representing a geographical balance, the committee was comprised of a variety of backgrounds: housewifes, governmental employees, businessmen, business owners, retirees, and homeowners. However, not all socially and economically diverse populations were afforded representation.
Acting in an advisory capacity, the committee worked closely with the planning staff to develop a workable plan. The staff continually updated them on any progress and supplied pertinent information at scheduled meetings. The information was provided to have the committee actively participating in the planning process, and give them an informational base for decisions. Both the staff and committee worked through to the final stages of the plan together.
Following the adoption of the final plan the committee was dissolved as an advisory entity to the planning department and Council.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FINAL PLAN
The primary thrust of the Neighborhood Strategy Area Plans was the implementation of capital improvement projects in the southeast Arvada area. This priority was a necessary component due explicitly to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) guidelines. As part of the requirements, the City of Arvada was directed to cooperate in helping fund those projects identified by the plan. Considerable effort was made on the part of the planning staff and the citizens' advisory committees
to ensure that other city funding would be directed to their cause. Because GDBG funds were to be utilized in the NSAs, it was necessary to make sure that city funds previously targeted for the area weren't diverted to projects in other parts of the city.
Also, to use the funding most efficiently, an effort was made to promote a coordinated effort for targeting capital projects. For example, if new water lines and street resurfacing were scheduled for a street, an attempt would be made to do the water work before the resurfacing. By coordinating the scheduled projects considerable expense could be averted by the city.
Because of the extensiveness and expense of the projects, the implementation schedule was prioritized over a 4 to 6 year timeframe for each NSA. The CDBG regulations permit the completion of projects through this period of time. This allowed for the payment of projects to be extended over a long period of time, and also provided an opportunity for the city to include some of the projects in its regular capital improvements plans.
In addition to providing a 4 to 6 year completion schedule, the plans stipulated a prioritized capital improvements
list. All needed projects were identified by using departmental information and input from the residents in the area. Estimated costs were attached to each identified project. From this information the citizens' advisory committees made recommendations to planning staff on their preferences for capital projects. The staff then outlined its proposed list of capital improvement priorities to be ratified by the city council. Although the projects were ranked accordingly, the plan still allowed for flexibility. When applicable the priorities were subject to review and change. This may be necessary to meet changing federal regulations, opportunities for cost savings, or private participation, etc. However, the primary intent of the program was not to be altered.
Another component of the Neighborhood Strategy Area Plans is the policy recommendations. A list of 3^ policies were written relating to land use, community facilities, housing, and citizen participation (see appendix). These policy recommendations were made for the entire southeast Arvada area, and select recommendations were targeted for the NSA's. Just as capital improvements were prioritized, a number of the policy recommendations were given first priority classification. These were selected as needing immediate city action. Many of the
first priorities included provisions for implementation of the capital improvement projects.
All capital improvement priorities were submitted as proposals to the Arvada City Council; however, none of the policy proposals were presented or adopted as yet. Upon adoption by the Council, actual work on the capital projects was conducted by the appropriate city departments assigned to the tasks. When an opportunity existed, the city made every effort to encourage and coordinate private cooperation.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE PROGRAM
The City of Arvada's criteria for determing the success of the neighborhood planning program was primarily directed at the immediate implementation of capital improvement projects in the targeted areas. While requesting a "comprehensive" study be done in the southeast portion of the city, most of the goals, produced by the council, were directly related to physical improvements and included:
1. identifying and listing capital or public improvements,
programs, or services needed over the next 10 years;
designating NSA's to achieve substantial improvements
over a 4 to 6 year period, and;
3. preparation of a 3 to 5 year capital improvement plan.
When analyzed to see if the neighborhood planning process was effective in producing beneficial results according to these goals, it could be considered a success.
In both NSA plans, a detailed list of needed capital improvements was compiled, prioritized, and assigned funding sources. The improvements included sidewalk construction and replacement, storm drainage facilities, traffic signal installation, street redesign and reconstruction, improvements to the bike path system, and development of a park. Most of these projects would be exclusively funded by Community Development Block Grant allocations.
Although these projects are intended to be implemented over a lengthy span of years, the NSA process has already accomplished initiating a series of neighborhood improvements. Since the NSA program's conception, over two million dollars has been put into the neighborhoods. Of this approximately three quarters of the funding has come from sources other than the CDBG Program. Thus, the program has also been effective in generating a
cooperative venture with other city departments, other public agencies, and private business enterprizes. Improvements that were accomplished in a cooperative effort include a bridge reconstruction, creek channelization, essential home repairs/rehabilitation service, and a seniors' lunch program.
All of these public improvements, programs, and services benefit both the entire city and the targeted neighborhood. Improvements to the roads provide greater safety and better traffic circulation; parks are available for everyone to use; and drainage reduces the safety hazard for all persons. These are a few examples, but it is evident that the NSA plans were successful in upgrading the capital infrastructure conditions of the neighborhoods for the citizens of the city.
There is no argument that the NSA planning framework was effective in providing short-term, immediate responses to problems. Many programs were implemented to upgrade the community and benefit the neighborhood. Through the continuation of the NSA Program, captial projects will continue to benefit the neighborhood.
^ City of Arvada Neighborhood D
2 Ibid 1, PP- 2
3 Ibid 1, PP. 47
^ Ibid 1, pp. 47
5 Ibid 1, pp. 48
6 Ibid i, pp. 3
7 Ibid l, PP. 4
PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION AND
AN OVERVIEW OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The Neighborhood Strategy Area Plans were very effective in implementing short-term, incremental capital improvement projects. With many of the public facilities exhibiting disrepair and posing potential hazards, the City of Arvada took remedial action to eradicate the situation. During the development of the neighborhood planning process, however, long-range, comprehensive planning principles were sacrificed at the expense of discriminately focusing on the capital improvements needed in the area.
The incremental planning process employed was in direct contradiction to the city council's intent for the Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan. Recognizing that this part of the city was now experiencing negative transitions and impacts, the council requested that the planning department conduct a "comprehensive" study and subsequent plan for the area.^ Although a thorough demographic inventory was compiled, the advanced development of the actual neighborhood plan lacked the necessary intensity to stimulate any long-term changes.
The framework of any comprehensive plan is a combination of interrelated components. Each seperate part is essential
to the overall effectiveness of the final product. If any one ingredient displays some weakness, the plan can become a detrimental product incapable of directing future neighborhood development. The City of Arvada's ''comprehensive'' neighborhood planning effort was subject to this flaw. Most of the essential components were either relatively weak or completely omitted in the Neighborhood Strategy Area Plans. The problems are evident in the plan's citizen participation process, the generation of goals and objectives, and the continuation and follow-through of the cyclical planning process. The following pages provide a more detailed analysis of the problems related to each component. This analysis also integrates a number of recommendations to help redirect the effort in the future.
THE CITIZEN PARTICIPATION PROCESS
The Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan utilized general neighborhood meetings as a component of the citizen participation process. The intention of the meetings was to stimulate wide community participation, and present and retrieve information from the participants. In both cases, the neighborhood meetings were not as successful as anticipated.
The meetings failed to attract sizeable numbers of participants. Very few residents attended them, and those that did attend were not representative of a diverse cross-section of the neighborhood population. Most of the participants represented caucassians, older aged persons, homeowners, and households with higher incomes relative to the area. In retrospect, the S.E. Arvada area has a higher percentage of renters, minorities, younger aged persons, and a lower average income than the city. Yet, the small contingent of participants set the criteria for the development of the plan.
COMPARISON OF DEMOGRAPHCS
CITY OF ARVADA &E. AREA COUAOtC N8A RENO-LOOBW NBA
26% 25% 52% 42%
MM0RTTE3 4% 0% 8% 6%
AVBWZ AQE 42 43 28 41
MCOftC *24.747 $15,950 *13,800 *18.130
Sources City of Arvada Planning Department, 1983
The number of scheduled meetings was also a problem that needs to be addressed in the future. The planning staff scheduled only one meeting at the outset of each new strategy area plan. The intent of the meetings was to generate citizen ideas, but ended up as an informational forum on the staffs
perceptions of neighborhood problems. Ultimately the presentation focused on needed capital improvement projects. At no time was the general neighborhood meeting used to design the plan.
1. The citizen outreach program needs to expand to involve many more local organizations. Also identifiable community leaders should be sought for their assistance. These actions should help promote and generate enthusiasm for the program.
2. The number of neighborhood meetings should be increased from one to a series of three or more. The first meeting should be used as an introductory session helping initiate a "snowball effect to generate more participation. Actual work on the plan would begin with the second session, and as the plan progresses, more meetings can be organized as needed. The following chart details my thoughts on this process.
NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING DIRECTIVE CHART
STAFF PREPARATION AND PROMOTION
OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD MEETINGS: CITIZEN HPUT
WORKING NEIGHBORHOOD MEETMQ
CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETMQS -
CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE SELECTION
The second aspect of the citizen participation process exhibiting organizational weakness is characteristic in the appointment of the citizens' advisory committees. *ph.e
number of participants utilized was one problem. The volume of material generated during the planning process required that most of the research, plan development, and recommendations be conducted by planning staff. Thus, the limited size of the committee was not condusive to an actively involved neighborhood planning committee.
The small size of the committees may also contributed to the problem of not having a very diverse representation. This was further promoted by the fact that the committee members were selected to solely represent a geographical balance. No social, racial, ethnic or economic criteria were used in the selection process. This left the staff with a committee that did not truely represent all segments of the population.
The duties of the committees, as perceived by the planning staff, also hampered the effectiveness of the groups.
The committees were authorized to act in an advisory capacity to the planning staff and city council. However, it was never clearly defined whether the members would actually participate in developing the plan, or whether they would be a passive unit reviewing planning staffs findings and recommendations. Although the perceived intent was to actually have them active in the process, the actual working relationship evolved into an informational and consultational role. This degree of participation, according to Sherry R. Amstein's Ladder of Citizen Participation,
is classified as "token participation. To achieve real effectiveness, citizens have to be delegated some form of formal authority. The planning staff, instead, took the responsibility for promoting ideas, setting policy, and suggesting actions, and presented the information to the committee for their endorsement. Needless to say, much of the material presented outlined specific capital improvement projects.
1. When selecting the size of the committee, it is important to relate it to the population, the geographical area,
the volume and complexity of the work assigned to the committee, and the participatory relationship of the committee to the planning staff and city council. It can range anywhere from ten to one hundred and fifty
members, and should represent a broad cross-section
of community leadership and power structure.
2. The citizen advisory committees should be restructured so as to designate a series of subcommittees assigned to work on specific plan elements (housing, land use, zoning, capital improvements, etc.).
3. A better attempt needs to be made to generate a more diverse committee representative of the social, racial, ethnic, and economic characteristics of the neighborhood. Because the citizen participation process was unable to attract various minority groups, it needs to be flexible enough to allow advocates from outside the neighborhoods to represent such parties as renters, minorities, senior citizens, and others.
The citizen advisory committees should have a more legitimate power in formulating the neighborhood plan, with final policy and plan adoption the responsibility of the city council. Following is a chart depicting my thoughts on the appropriate working relationship.
CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE DIRECTIVE CHART
PLANNING DEPARTMENT -PARTICIPATION
+ ADVISORY <--------STAFF
THE FORMULATION OF GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The most important planning principle of any "comprehensive" plan is the formulation of general goals and related objectives. When appropriately timed in the planning process, they will effectively direct the product from conception to implementation. The Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan was weak in three respects regarding the goal formulation process: The timing of goal selection, the degree of "generalness" of the goals, and the exclusion of long-range goals.
Without goal statements to direct the planning effort, the effectiveness of the plan is compromised. General goal statements had no influence in the development of the
neighborhood plan. The goal formulation process was never integrated into the framework. Consequently, the capital improvement projects and policy statements were created without any vision of the overall intentions of the plan.
During the preparation of the second NSA (Reno-Loberg) plan, the planning staff did intend to incorporate general goals into the framework. However, this procedure was not timed appropriately. The staff prepared a series of statements after the capital improvement program had been finalized. To date, the goals have not been adopted, yet
the capital improvement programs and budget request have been submitted to city council for their approval. The capital projects have actually preceeded the development of the neighborhood plan, and may be counterproductive to the overall success of the final plan and its goals.
In place of the goal statements a long list of policy statements was accummulated. The planning staff and citizen advisory committees may have construed these as goal statements, but they bear no relationship because they specify actions to be taken towards land use, community facilities, housing, and citizen participation. These policy statements should have been directed to the attainment of general goals.
Even if the policy statements were felt as adequate for the plan, they still exhibited another prime weakness. The time-frame for all the policies were relatively short-term ranging from a 5-iO year implementation period. This was especially true for the completion of the capital improvement program. No long-range, visionary goals were ever incorporated into the neighborhood planning process. This limits the potential effectiveness of the plan to an insufficient amount of time necessary to stimulate real, long-term benefits.
1. Goals and objectives have to be stipulated at the outset of developing the plan. They must come before the preparation of any specific actions, programs, or projects. In the case of this neighborhood plan, the capital improvement projects should not have circumvented the goal formulation process and preceeded them. In retrospect, the goals and objectives should have
total influence over capital improvements.
2. The citizens of the community should have a dominant role in the development of general goals. Their ideas and thoughts are essential when soliciting their support.
3. The emphasis of neighborhood planning should be directed to the formulation of long-range as well as short-range goals. Capital improvement projects should not be used as the basis for long-range planning because of its tendancy to encourage incremental planning. Directing the emphasis to longer time periods, goals and objectives will reinforce the plan
-THE CYCLICAL PLANNING PROCESS
The cyclical planning process provides the best and most widely accepted approach for developing an effective plan. Although the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Arvada endorses such an approach, the Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan neglected to incorporate it into actual practice. Instead, an incremental planning process was inadvertantly adopted and strengthened by the procedures utilized in the plan.
The generation of goals and objectives is obviously one of the steps, if not the most important of all. As mentioned in the previous section, goal formulation was a failure.
It continuously had negative consequences for the employment of a cyclical process throughout the neighborhood plan.
Other steps associated with the cyclical planning process were either poorly implemented or entirely omitted.
The generation of a number of different alternatives is required to achieve success in attaining the plans goals. Because the goal formulation process was excluded from the plan, it was impossible to follow the procedure of selecting alternatives. Instead, the first action, program, or project that was thought to be "good enough, and would temporarily
erradicate the situation immediately was used as a solution. Without selecting a number of possible alternatives, an optimal solution was not necessarily found. Also, if the implemented action failed its intended purpose, the planning staff had no immediate counter-measure to replace it.
Evaluation techniques were also missing from the neighborhood plan. The actions taken by the planning staff could not be evaluated to see if they were achieving success. First of all, without the goals to relate back to, it is impossible to determine whether there has been any substantial change. Criteria for evaluating the plans was also non-existant.
Thus, the neighborhood plan lacked any reliable or valid means of evaluating a program's progress, and accordingly, restricts effective change in the plan for the future.
1. The neighborhood planning process should place its
emphasis around adhering to established steps;
1. Defining the problem(s)
2. Setting general goals and measurable objectives Generating a number of alternatives and selecting one or more for implementation Periodically reviewing and evaluating the plans progress
Each of these steps is just as important as another, and, therefore, not one single step should be eliminated for the sake of reducing the time to prepare the plan.
2. Assign a timeframe for each component of the plan to keep the process roling. Once a project falls behind schedule, there is a tendancy to speed up the process circumventing some procedures.
City of Arvada Planning Department, Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan. Arvada, Colorado, I98O PP. 1
International City Management Association, The Practice of Local Government Planning, 1979 PP* 559
Herbert A. Simon, a well reknowned public administrative theorist, used the term "satisfice" to refer to a human beings nature to select the solution that is just "good enough" rather than seek the optimal solution.
The City of Arvada has evolved into a dynamically changing community. While currently displaying rapid population growth and healthy new developments, the city also is noted for a long established history of residential development. Many of the old neighborhoods were built around the turn of the nineteenth century. A very substantial proportion of the city's existing housing stock was also built between 1950 and 1970. Being more susceptable to social, physical and economical change due to growth pressures, these areas need to be targeted for planning activity.
The Arvada City Council and planning staff are to be commended for their realization of neighborhood problems, and implementing a neighborhood planning process. Instituting neighborhood plans provides the city with a mechanism for solving complex problems or issues unique to a certain area at a more manageable level. The problems and issues can be addressed while respecting the individuality of different neighborhoods. The physical parameters established by the city for the neighborhood plans took these considerations into account and directed the effort according to their
The one planning staff consideration that influenced the direction of the neighborhood planning process was the emphasis on producing immediate, tangible results. Thus, the implementation of capital improvements directed the planning effort. This reliance on the product rather than the planning process provided a major flaw in the plan.
By neglecting the "process" the plan lost all elements of comprehensiveness. The essential components of the plan (citizen participation, goals and objectives, cyclical planning process, etc.) were either weakened or by-passed just to ensure some tangible results were produced, and in the process the future, long-range effectiveness of the plan was compromised.
The City of Arvada neighborhood planning process needs to be re-directed from an emphasis on the product and immediate results to the importance of the "planning process". The incorporation of a planning cycle is essential to the success of the final plan. Without following through with the established procedures, an action implemented for the sake of producing results may inadvertantly inflame the current problem or create new ones. The cyclical planning process works to minimize such an occurance by weighing the pros and cons of an action, and strives to reach an "optimal" solution. This may not guarantee that the best alternative
is implemented, but the flexibility built into the cyclical process ensures responsible decisions and changes when necessary. Until the City of Arvada accepts the comprehensive, cyclical planning process as standard procedure, and stands by it regardless of any pressures to do otherwise, it is questionable whether the plan will provide answers to neighborhood development in the future.
Ahlbrandt, Roger S., Jr. and Paul G. Brophy, Neighborhood Revitalization. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1975.
Bryant, David and Worth, Joel T., A "Guide to Neighborhood Planning. American Planning Association, Planning Advisory Service, Report #3^2.
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City of Arvada Planning Department, Planning Commission Procedural Guide, Arvada, CO: City of Arvada, n.d.
City of Arvada Planning Department, Population Statistics and Zoning Acreage. Arvada, CO: City of Arvada, February 1, 1980.
City of Arvada Planning Department, Southeast Arvada Neighborhood Development Plan. Arvada, CO: City of Arvada, 1980.
City of Arvada Planning Department, Zoning Ordinance.
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Denver Regional Council of Governments, Listing of Tables from 1980 Census, Denver, CO: Denver Regional Council of Governments, 1980.
Hess, Karl and David Morris, Neighborhood Power: The New Localism, Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1975*
International City Management Association, The Practice of Local Government Planning, Washington, D.C., 1979
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More Than Gold: A History of Arvada. Colorado. During the Period 1870-1904. Boulder, CO: Johnson Publishing Co., 1976.
Pursley, Robert D. and Neil Snortland, Managing Government Organizations. North Scituate, MAs Duxbury Press, I98O.
Rodgers, Joseph Lee, Jr., Citizen Committees: A Guide to Their Use in Local Government. Cambridge, MA:
Ballinger Publishing Co., 1977-
U.S. Department of Commerce, 1980 Cencus of Population and Housing. Supplementary Reports, Advance Estimates of Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics, Part 7, Colorado PHC80-S2-7, Counties and Selected Places,
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Consolidated Community Development Block Grant Regulations. Program Participants and Development Staff, Office of Community Planning and Development, Handbook 6520,1, August 1980.
Worthington Partnership, Carl A., Arvada City Center:
Urban Design and Redevelopment Plan. Boulder, CO: Carl A. Worthington Partnership, 1980.