Comp Plan Amendment Process

The process of amending the Comprehensive Plan is elaborate and time consuming – as it should be.  This is supposed to be a conservative document, not changing with the “political” whims of commissioners or citizens.  But it can be amended and the review process involves a lot of public input and hearings.

Here’s a quick synopsis with links to the Planning Department:

The complete Comprehensive Plan is found here:

The part that really applies minor commercial is the Land Use chapter (lu.pdf).
The process for amendment is also (near) the above url.

Here is a synopsis of the current general practice.

1.  County and City Commissioners have a separate retreats at the end of the calendar year at which they set their priorities.
Here’s the most recent one:

2.  If any of these priorities require an amendment to the Comp Plan, this is where the staff get their direction and begin the work.

3.  Depending upon the type of amendment there may be extensive public outreach during the drafting of the amendment, or not.  However, most amendments go through some form of Citizen Committee review.  For instance, any amendment that has impact on water resources will be discussed by the Water Resource Committee.  As a courtesy, staff often brings drafts to these committees for feedback.

4.  The application deadline for all amendments, public or private is in September.

Here’s the calendar for the 2014-1 amendments – the current “cycle” of amendments.

For privately submitted text amendments, there is an additional requirement of getting County and/or City commissioners (depends upon jurisdiction) to approve allowing the amendment to move forward into the application process.  It is a minority vote requirement (3 County and/or 2 City).  This is a matter of allocating staff time to the analysis, which can be very extensive depending upon what is being proposed in the amendment.

Note there are many public hearings, presentations, etc.  The end of the cycle is adoption and implementation – all over by July of the year following the application.

One of the critical documents created is staff analysis.  Planning does a good job on this analysis for all of the amendments, even the ones the Commissions request.

5.  Comp plan amendments that require significant changes in the LDRs are often accompanied by draft legislation for the LDR amendments also. This means there is (no longer) a delay between implementation of the policy and the regulation.

So to summarize for what would be the next amendment cycle:

December 2014 – County Commission (BCC) sets priority for re-evaluating commercial and office development in the unincorporated area outside the Urban Services Area (USA). (This would be approximately our request.)

September 2015 – application deadline for text amendment

July 2016 – if successful, the amendment becomes law

It may be possible to speed this up and get into this years cycle – so that the deadline for the application would be September 2014 – basically bypass the the BCC annual retreat priority setting step.

Stay tuned for updates!