Skip to main content Skip to site navigation

Butte County- Building Public Support for a New General Plan – with Video Presentation

Case Story

Community: Butte County

Population: 220,577

Summary:

In the spring of 2006, Butte County staff began what they knew would be a controversial process to update the county’s General Plan for the first time since 1977. The three and a half year process began with a series of twenty meetings in twenty different communities, where over a thousand residents were educated about the General Plan update process.

Program Highlights:

  • The board of supervisors appointed 31 diverse residents to serve on a citizen advisory committee that would help county officials vet input from public workshops and offer input on more technically challenging aspects of the plan.
  • A public city-county summit was convened in January of 2007 to facilitate coordination of long term planning between county staff and the five cities with spheres of influence in the affected areas.

Lessons Learned:

  • Transparency was very important to the success of the public process. Each meeting was broadcast on the Internet and public access channels and documented on a website.

Resources to Learn More:

The Rest of the Story…

The three and a half year process began with a series of twenty meetings in twenty different communities, where over a thousand residents were educated about the General Plan update process. Next, the board of supervisors appointed 31 diverse residents to serve on a citizen advisory committee that would help county officials vet input from public workshops and offer input on more technically challenging aspects of the plan. The committee worked with county staff and consultants to plan a series of eight public workshops that educated residents about county services and collected public input through facilitated discussion and interactive workstation activities. A public city-county summit was convened in January of 2007 to facilitate coordination of long term planning between county staff and the five cities with spheres of influence in the affected areas.

Transparency was very important to the success of the public process. Each meeting was broadcast on the Internet and public access channels and documented on a website. Public support and respect for the process was reinforced because county staff listened to issues that came up and addressed them. When concerns were raised about how the plan would impact things like the economy and climate change, special public dialogues were held to explore and address these issues. As a result, people who were once opponents of the new General Plan are now advocates, because they feel like they were included in the process and listened to. The General Plan was approved in September 2010.

Below is a video of Butte County Director of Development Services Tim Snelling’s presentation on the value of investing in public engagement in local decision making. The presentation was given on August 12, 2011, at the California State Association of Counties Institute for Excellence in County Government session, “Public Engagement: Involving the Community in Decision Making.” In his presentation, Mr. Snelling talks about Butte County’s General Plan update process.

Butte County- Building Public Support for a New General Plan – with Video Presentation

Log in

Commands