October 14, 1999

City Looks At New Growth Policy

It may be called Smart Growth but it may not be the best thing for
Manhattan. The Manhattan City Commission held a work session Tuesday
afternoon for a Growth Policy Review.
Eric Cattell, AICP, Assistant Director for Planning and Ockert Fourie,
MCIP, Senior Planner made the presentation to the Commission.
The National Association of Home Builders has this to say about Smart
Growth: "In its broadest sense, Smart Growth means meeting the underlying
demand for housing created by an ever-increasing population and prosperous
economy by building a political consensus and employing market-sensitive
and innovative land-use planning concepts. It means understanding that
suburban job growth and the strong desire to live in single-family homes
will continue to encourage growth in suburbia. At the same time, Smart
Growth means meeting that housing demand in "smarter ways" by planning for
and building to higher densities, preserving meaningful open space and
protecting environmentally-sensitive areas."
The Builders Association also warns: "There are some, however, who want to
turn Smart Growth into a tool to stop or slow growth."
That is what citizens need to watch in Manhattan. Groups may use the new
Growth Policy to their own agenda. Here is what the staff told the
Commission Tuesday:
Several issues have come together over the past few years which highlighted
the need to review and update Manhattan’s Growth and Annexation Policies.
The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board’s 1998-2003 Work Plan included a
review of the Growth and Annexation policies.  Review of these policies was
also identified during joint meetings between the Manhattan Urban Area
Planning Board and the Riley County Planning Board, as part of broader
discussions concerning the jurisdictional boundary of the Manhattan Urban
Area Planning Board and urban fringe issues concerning growth, planning and
development controls, and improving coordination between the City and the
County.  In addition, the need for such a review was identified by City
Administration as one of its goals.
The City’s existing Growth Policy consists of Resolution No. 1979-263,
“Growth Policy”, and Resolution No. 1979-266, “Growth Guidance System”,
which were adopted some 20 years ago and need to be reviewed and validated
by the community, the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board, and the City
Commission.  In addition to these policies, the Comprehensive Land Use Plan
also contains Goals and Objectives and other policy statements that speak
to the growth issue.
It was determined that, although in most part still applicable, there were
sections of the growth policies, goals and objectives that required review
in light of changing conditions.  Furthermore, it was concluded that the
policies should be evaluated using current planning and growth management
principles, including those of Smart Growth and Sustainable Development.
In March 1999, the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board approved a process
to review the City’s current Growth and Annexation policies. The Board
expressed a desire to embark on a strategic process which balanced the need
for extensive public participation and discussion, with the need to
complete the review and update in a timely manner. The policy review
process has included the following extensive community consultation and
participation, which took place over the spring and summer of this year:
1.During the first three work sessions at the beginning of the process, the
Planning Division gave presentations and facilitated discussions on Smart
Growth principles, as defined in current planning literature, giving
examples at the local and national level.  Policy Resolution No. 1979-263,
Growth Policy; and Resolution No. 1979-266, Growth Guidance System; as well
as growth statements contained in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, were
then evaluated by the Planning Board and the public to determine to what
extent they incorporate Smart Growth principles.
2.At the July 19, 1999, Work Session, the Planning Board reviewed the
Growth Policy and Growth Guidance System Resolutions to determine the
relevance of various policy statements and identify what portions should be
retained and what portions should be considered for modification or
deletion.  There was overall agreement that these policy resolutions
already support smart growth principles and are generally still valid.
Exceptions were the four prioritized growth areas listed in Resolution No.
1979-263, which were found to be out-of-date.
3.A Growth Policy - Community Preference Survey was also conducted over the
summer and was widely disseminated throughout the community and placed on
the City’s web page. The survey was not intended to be a statistical
survey.  Its purpose was to help initiate public discussion of growth
issues and to provide initial feedback on ranges of alternatives, as they
relate to smart growth principles in  current planning literature.  The
results of the Preference Survey, and the additional comments made by
respondents, were tabulated and helped provide input to the policy review
4.The Planning Board then hosted a series of special Community Focus Group
meetings on August 16, August 23, and September 2, 1999.  The focus group
sessions were designed to center discussion around five broad themes
related to growth: land use; housing; transportation; environment; and
aesthetics and urban design (“a sense of place”).  Using the results and
conclusions drawn from the earlier work sessions and the Community
Preference Survey, participants expressed desired outcomes for future
growth and development in Manhattan.  The three Focus Group meetings were
attended by approximately seventy members of the community, including
members of the City Commission, the Riley County Planning Board, and the
Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board, as well as City and County Planning
staff.  The Focus Group meetings provided another avenue for community
discussion of growth issues and helped to identify broad issues that may be
missing from the current growth policy, or may need additional attention.
Draft Growth Vision Statements, which are intended to update and replace
the City’s current Growth and Annexation Policy Resolutions, were prepared
by City Administration for review by the Manhattan Urban Area Planning
Board, the community, and the City Commission.  Those portions of the two
existing Growth Policy Resolutions, which were previously confirmed as
still being valid for the community, were used as a framework around which
additional concepts, identified through the public discussion process, were
added. The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board considered these Draft
Growth Vision Statements during its regular Work Session on September 20,
The Draft Growth Vision Statements, as presented to the Planning Board, as
well as the comments and suggestions from the Planning Board and citizens
attending the September 20, 1999, Work Session, are attached for the City
Commission to review.  Those  portions of the City’s current Growth and
Annexation Policies that have been incorporated into the draft Growth
Vision Statements without any substantial change are shown in normal type.
New concepts and statements are shown in bold italics.  Draft Growth Vision
Statements dealing with Transportation, Housing, Environment, and
Aesthetics/Urban Design are substantially new and are not specifically
addressed in the City’s current Growth and Annexation Policies.
Following consultation with the City Commission, the Vision Statements will
be refined, as needed, into a final draft to be considered for adoption
through the public hearing process by the Planning Board and City
Commission.  It is currently envisioned that it would be adopted as a part
of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, instead of being a separate policy

Once the new Growth & Annexation Visions are adopted, they will serve as a
broad policy framework for future updates to the Comprehensive Land Use
Plan and for designing implementation tools, such as design review for
certain types of projects. In this sense, the Growth & Annexation Visions
would provide the highest level, or broadest statements of land use policy
for the community, giving general guidance to more detailed and focused
land use plans, neighborhood and corridor plans, and implementation
City Administration recommends that the City Commission review and discuss
the draft Growth Vision Statements and provide input and give further
direction to City Administration on any modifications or additions.
As this is a policy session, no formal motion is needed.