Park master planning is often confused with the city's park plan, which is part of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. Master plans are used for individual parks and open space, such as Moore Square or Pullen Park. The Raleigh Park Plan that accompanies the Comprehensive Plan includes the goals and general guidelines for all of Raleigh's parks and open space.
Councilors gave planning staff the go-ahead to enter into negotiations with a consultant who will update the Park Plan, which includes the new public comment policy.
Next week, city staff will be releasing documents that outline the city's guidelines for public input during the master planning process for city parks and open space.
In 2009, city staff and researchers from North Carolina State University studied four master planning processes, how the public was involved and their perceptions of the public information process.
As a result of that study, staff produced a set of guidelines for public input, which was released for public review. From those comments, staff created new guidelines, which will be released next week. The documents will have a 45-day review process and include a public meeting.
The documents will contain a broad description of guidelines and accepted best practices for public participation, a policy statement and a staff manual to guide the public outreach process.
Senior Park Planner David Shouse said the guidelines and best practices are not one-size-fits-all for every park master plan. For example, the public participation process for a master plan for Moore Square would be much different from the outreach process for the master plan for a small neighborhood park in Raleigh's watershed areas.
“But the principles for engaging the public should be the same,” he said.
Shouse said many of these outreach efforts have already been implemented by planning staff during the past few years.