What is Envision Easton?
Envision Easton is an exciting and comprehensive master planning process that asks the community what Easton should be like in the future, and then lays out a path to achieve that vision. This is a community-driven planning process in which the vision, ideas and objectives come straight from Easton residents, businesses and organizations. Some of the issues and topics that will be discussed over the course of the plan development include:
- Housing and neighborhoods
- The local economy
- Open spaces, parks and natural resources
- Local culture and education
- Public services and facilities
- Historic resources
- Transportation and circulation
Why does Easton need a Master Plan?
Envision Easton is the community’s first opportunity in over 40 years to participate in a town-wide comprehensive master planning process. This Comprehensive Master Plan is a critical step towards establishing policies and practices that will guide Easton to a prosperous, sustainable future. It will replace the current, outdated Master Plan, developed in April, 1971. When that plan was written, Easton had a population of just over 10,000 (it’s over 23,000 now) and 1980 was the target date for most of the plan’s goals and projections. Current Town leaders have recognized that a plan that is over 40 years old is no longer useful and Easton needs a new Plan to guide the Town forward.
Envision Easton will develop a clear vision and goals for the community and provide the Town with a roadmap for accomplishing them. Town boards and commissions and staff will use the Comprehensive Master Plan to make informed decisions that can determine:
- How development looks and where it happens
- How the Town can protect important environmentally sensitive areas as well as important historic buildings and landmarks
- How we travel around town
- How the Town can support business development
- How the Town can meet future demands on town services
Who is in charge of the planning process?
Envision Easton is being directed by the Master Plan Steering Committee, with assistance from the Planning Department and the project consultant team. The entire process is being overseen by the Easton Planning and Zoning Board. The Master Plan Steering Committee is a 15-member panel of town representatives with diverse backgrounds and a range of interests. Please visit the ‘Contact’ page on the project website (www.envisioneaston.com) for contact information for the Steering Committee co-chairs, Easton Planning Department and Outreach Coordinator for the consultant team. Also visit the ‘Consultants’ page for background information on each of the firms that make up the consultant team.
What is the planning process and how long will the process take?
The process begins by reviewing current (and past) plans, studies and reports, looking at trends in population growth, the Town’s demographic make-up, business development and land uses, and many other indicators. All this is brought together in the Baseline Report to create a picture of how the Town has evolved and where Easton is as a community today. From that baseline, the Steering Committee will begin to identify the major issues that currently face the town and those that will over the coming decades. Public input, data collection and analysis are then brought together to create a Roadmap that articulates how the public sees Easton’s future and lays out tools to achieve that shared vision. Last but not least, the Committee leads the development of an Implementation Plan, a list of specific actions along with responsible parties, resources and timeframe to achieve each goal and objective.
The Town anticipates an 18-month timeframe to develop the Comprehensive Master Plan. The Master Plan Steering Committee has been working since January and it is expected the final planning document will be completed in 2014.
What will happen to the plan once it is finished?
The Planning and Zoning Board and Steering Committee are determined that the Envision Easton plan be a living, working document, not one that sits on a shelf. Public decision makers will use the plan to direct local policies and guide future decisions.
What is the Envision Easton First Forum follow-up survey and what is it intended to do?
On April 24, 2013 residents, business owners and municipal officials gathered together for the Envision Easton First Forum to exchange thoughts on what they like about Easton, what could or should be changed and what kind of place they want Easton to be in the next 10, 20 and 30 years. Participants at the First Forum provided input in five topic areas: cultural resources, housing and neighborhoods, open space and recreation, economic development, and transportation.
The First Forum survey presents some of the ideas suggested and discussed by participants and provides an opportunity for the Easton community to weigh in on recurring themes and ideas from each discussion. This survey is designed to test or prioritize many of the ideas generated at the Forum. There are also open ended questions at the end of each section of the survey asking for additional thoughts, ideas, comments or suggestions. The results of this survey will be another tool the Steering Committee will have in developing Easton’s Road Map. Future events will continue to add other ideas to the process.
We are tracking responses through each Internet Protocol Address (IP Address), or individual computer, to validate multiple responses from the same location. We understand that there may be multiple residents from the same household responding to the survey.
How will the public be able to participate in the planning process?
Public input is the most critical part of the planning process. Residents, businesses, civic groups and property owners will have many opportunities to discuss issues and provide feedback. Events, workshops, open houses, forums and surveys allow attendees to comment on important challenges the Town is facing now and consider how it will manage in the future. It is also important to talk about what makes Easton a special place to live and what needs to be done to ensure those qualities are protected.
How can I get involved in Envision Easton?
There are many ways to get involved in Envision Easton. One way to stay informed is by visiting the project website (www.envisioneaston.com) frequently. Here, you will find upcoming meeting notices, review and comment on draft materials, or view past presentations and graphics. The project website also has a link to the Town’s calendar of events, so you can plan ahead.
Another way to stay involved is to email/contact any of the individuals below to share ideas, make suggestions or comments, or get your contact information added to the Envision Easton E-Blast list. As the project progresses, the Steering Committee will send E-Blast notifications regarding upcoming public meetings and when draft text/reports are available for review and comment. You can also keep up to date on the process through the Envision Easton Facebook page- www.facebook.com/envisioneaston or through the Easton Town Crier.
The Master Plan Steering Committee meets twice monthly. All meetings are open to the public and anyone interested in the process is welcome to attend. A list of meeting dates, times and locations is available at www.EnvisionEaston.com.