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Plan Resolution


Plan resolution addresses the changes that often occur in projects, plans and programs during the months and years between initial conception and final implementation. This is an important issue for transportation projects and for other kinds of public works projects, as well as for various kinds of plans and programs.

Many times citizens and elected officials are surprised and even dismayed to learn that changes have been made in a project, plan or program in the time since they were personally involved. An example would be a street reconstruction project for which the design has changed. Perhaps on-street parking is no longer included or the width of travel lanes is different. Such changes may be legitimate outcomes of consultation or review, but sometimes changes may have been made casually or for reasons that are not clearly supported or documented.

Public projects, plans and programs work their way through long, sometimes arduous processes before finally being implemented. Along the way, changes may occur for many reasons. Plan resolution addresses why such changes occur, how they can be anticipated, and how public sector staff, elected leaders and the general public can ensure that a certain project, plan or program continues to expectations as it approaches completion.

Information is provided in the links below for two general kinds of processes:

  • The plan resolution process associated with infrastructure design projects -- public works improvements, including street construction and similar kinds of projects.
  • The plan resolution process associated with various kinds of plans and programs -- neighborhood plans, area plans, city transportation plans and other public plans and programs as well as the development of ordinances, rules, regulations and guidelines.

A third type of plan resolution process would apply to the development and redevelopment of urban and suburban lands. This includes zoning changes, subdivisions, site planning and similar systems for city and county review and approval of proposed changes in land use and proposed development projects, including redevelopment and infill sites.

These processes vary widely from one jurisdiction to the next. Even within jurisdictions, development review processes typically are different for different types of projects and may be different in different areas or districts of the city or county. The steps that proposed developments must take are often quite complex, and may involve multiple rounds of initiation, review, revision and resubmittals. Citizens, elected leaders and others interested in following such projects and monitoring plan resolution should contact the planning departments of the relevant jurisdiction and request an explanation of the requirements for that type of project and an explanation of the review and approval process. Often, public notification requirements are included in local ordinances and it is possible to follow such development projects closely over the years it takes for them to reach conclusion.