THE NEIGHBORHOOD ACTION PLAN
OFFICE OF NEIGHBORHOOD INVOLVEMENT (ONI)
CITY OF PALM SPRINGS
The objective of the ordinance passed by the City Council in 2005 creating The Office of Neighborhood Involvement and facilitating the formation of Neighborhood Organizations is manifold. Briefly stated the reasons are to:
- Emphasize the importance of citizen participation in local government;
- Involve the citizens of the City of Palm Springs to reflect their interest in matters which affect the City's neighborhoods;
- Provide a designated/formal communication link and an organizational infrastructure to facilitate communication, to encourage citizen participation, and to achieve consensus on matters related to
(a) public access or use of public facilities;
(b) special events conducted by either the City or private entities subject to the City's approval which may affect a specific neighborhood;
(c) the abatement of nuisances;
(d) public safety issues;
(e) the adoption of ordinances and regulations which may affect residents or the conduct of businesses; and
(f) similar matters affecting quality of life;
- Ensure the most efficient use of the time and resources of City Council members, City Commissioners, City staff, citizens and other public officers and private entities;
- Facilitate early notification and a process for neighborhood involvement in development projects and other matters that affect the neighborhood(s), being considered by City Council and related committees, city departments, boards or commissions.
The Neighborhood Action Plan
The purpose of The Neighborhood Action Plan (NAP) is to provide a mechanism for neighborhood organizations to develop and communicate a plan for its neighborhood that
- Identifies and prioritizes the needs and interests of the neighborhood which can be used by City Departments, Commissions and City Council to guide decisions involving master planning, development proposals, budget approvals and plan amendments affecting the neighborhood.
- Describes and develops the resources within each neighborhood to develop a sense of place.
- Serves as a tool for the neighborhood to move forward with its own action plans and community improvements.
- Stimulates community involvement and collaboration between neighborhood residents and other neighborhood interests and between the city and the neighborhood organization.
- Builds neighborhood identity and cohesiveness through the process of decision-making.
- Educates city government and neighborhood interests about each others' concerns and visions for the future.
- Improves the health, safety and welfare of a community by understanding the needs and desires of the people living within the community.
- Promotes goodwill between the various components of the neighborhood, the businesses, and the city offices/agencies through better communication and clearer understanding of each others' priorities.
Components of the Neighborhood Action Plan
The components of a Neighborhood action Plan (NAP) are suggested below. This outline is given as a template only and should not limit the expression and creativity of individual neighborhood organizations in defining their roles and achieving the objectives described above.
TABLE OF CONTENTS-Lists each of the titles below that are included in each respective Neighborhood Action Plan.
INTRODUCTION/OVERVIEW-Provides a background of the events leading up to the development/creation of the organization. States the conditions under which the neighborhood organization were created: how it was developed, who participated in the development, when the Neighborhood Organization was originated and the forces that promoted the formation of the organization.
A MISSION STATEMENT-Describes the purpose in very general statements of the neighborhood organization including the function of the enterprise, the goals to be accomplished, and the objectives to be realized.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD PROFILE-Identifies the boundaries of the neighborhood, special landmarks and particular properties that help differentiate the neighborhood from other neighborhoods. Further details might be used to highlight special characteristics and unique features of the community which are significant and important to the residents. Views, landscaping, architecture are among the characteristics that might be illustrated. A map of the designated neighborhood is very desirable.
THE VISION STATEMENT-This section is an opportunity for the citizens of a neighborhood to explain those features that are important to its property owners/residents and how they wish to sustain and promote the essence and spirit of their environment. Where does the neighborhood wish to be in five and ten years? What features does it wish to retain and which future enhancements does the neighborhood want to deploy and when. The vision might include comments about parks, streets, traffic routes, businesses where appropriate, and other elements that influence the nature of a place to live.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD OBJECTIVES-What are the special concerns of the neighborhood and how should the problems be resolved? First, it is essential for the neighborhood to identify the problem, agreeing to what is a problem and what isn't. In addition the residents should identify those existing features that are most precious and desirable; those that should not be changed. Where problems are identified, solutions/objectives can the developed, insuring that a majority of the community agrees with the results. These issues should be described as discrete entities allowing for a variety of solutions to be developed/explained for each. Objectives may include those for more immediate neighborhood action steps as well as those needing City action.
THE ACTION CHART-Summarizes in table format the neighborhood objectives listed above and provides the following information:
(1) Prioritizes the objective relative to each of the remaining objectives;
(2) Describes the discrete steps needed to achieve the objective;
(3) Identifies neighborhood Action Steps and an associated timetable for these steps;
(4) Assigns the objective to the appropriate city agency and/or office that is responsible for implementing the action steps.
A "high" priority indicates that the neighborhood considers the objective to be among the most important objectives to be achieved with "Medium" meaning that the objective is somewhat less important, and "Low" being considered the least important. The purpose of this exercise is to engage citizens in a discussion about setting priorities within their neighborhood. Obviously a City does not have the resources to accomplish all the objectives of a community simultaneously.
City Ordinance Creating the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
The City of Vancouver, Washington Neighborhood Action Plan www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/neighborhoods