Legendary Alabama football coach “Bear” Bryant once said “it’s easy to beat most folks because most don’t have a plan.” But it wasn’t just the plan that was key to his success. His plan was coupled with sound execution. Execution of a community’s plan is Step 4 and includes the determinations of policy, initiative and administration. Primary policy initiatives include the following:
• Zoning and Land Use Controls
• Design Standards
• Historic Preservation Programs
• Environmental Controls
• Subdivision Standards
• Housing and Building Codes
Vital to the effectiveness of any of these tools is a fundamental understanding that their purpose is to achieve community goals. If communities cannot attribute positive outcomes to the planning tools being used, those tools should be reformed, redrafted or discarded.
Implementation must also include community initiative. Community initiative involves the investment of public funds in accordance with a plan’s identified projects and goals and the motivation, support and coordination of private sector efforts. Capital improvement programs, for example, provide clear and systematic guidance in these investments over the long term, eliminating the frustration of haphazard budgeting without a clear long range goal. Other initiatives may involve the administration and promotion of incentives to achieve development goals. Community official will likely some familiarity with most of these methods of planning execution. Zoning control is often the most misunderstood of these planning tools. The practice and methods of zoning are rapidly changing and require some detailed discussion.