In April 2014 the Town entered into a contract with Mintier Harnish Planning Consultants to update the General Plan. The aim is to have the Town Council adopt the General Plan in Spring 2016. While there will be opportunities for the public to provide input throughout the process, participation is especially important early in the process.
The major steps in the General Plan process are as follows:
Project Initiation (Complete)
This phase laid out the groundwork for success through the rest of the process. Town staff, the Town Council, and the Planning Commission received an overview of the process and provided the planning consultants with information on key community issues and future opportunities. The General Plan Team of Town planners and planning consultants also formulated a robust community engagement strategy that included project branding, a website, and newsletters.
Update Background Data (Complete)
During this phase the General Plan Team reviewed existing plans and collect new data needed to form the baseline existing conditions analysis for the General Plan. The General Plan Team also engaged the community through a series of focus group meetings, online discussions, and Town Council/Planning Commission joint study sessions to better understand what matters to residents. The results of this step was the draft Background Report, which establishes a foundation of where Windsor is now so we can have a clear starting point for envisioning Windsor in the future.
Identify Issues and Opportunities and Confirm Vision (Complete)
The community visioning process will include several opportunities for the community to get involved by attending Town Council/Planning Commission joint study sessions and participating in online discussions. The results of this input and the key findings from the Background Report were used to prepare the Assets, Issues, and Opportunities Report. Community input was also essential for crafting the draft Vision and Guiding Principles for what Windsor should become in the future and how the Town will get there. The General Plan will be the Town’s tool for reaching that vision of the future.
Focus Area Alternatives (Summer/Fall 2015) – We are here!
An important aspect of the General Plan is the land use diagram, which sets the direction for land use in Windsor. The land use diagram will identify areas where the community wants land uses to change or to stay the same, and it will determine the types of land uses that will be allowed or encouraged in the future. During this step in the process, the Town will consider and analyze different land use scenarios, with several opportunities for input from the community. At the end of this phase, the Town Council will choose a preferred alternative based on information gathered by the General Plan Team, growth forecasts to 2040, and input from the community and Planning Commission.
Focused General Plan Review and Revision (Fall 2015/Winter 2016)
The goals and policies make up the heart of the General Plan. They are the mechanisms for achieving the community’s vision of the future. The Town Council and Planning Commission will hold joint study sessions to discuss focus policy updates. Based on the direction from the Town Council, the General Plan Team will prepare a Public Review Draft of the General Plan.
Environmental Review (Winter/Spring 2016)
A General Plan is considered a project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), so the Town must analyze the potential environmental impacts of carrying out the General Plan. The General Plan Team will prepare an Environmental Impact Report with opportunities for community review and comment.
Final Documents and Adoption (Spring 2016)
The General Plan will go to the Planning Commission and the Town Council for public hearings. The Town Council has the ultimate authority to adopt the General Plan. The community will have opportunities to provide comments to the Planning Commission and Town Council during the final public hearings.