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Monday, April 27, 2015

Public Involvement on Public Involvement? Huh?

As you no doubt know, COMPASS solicits feedback on its plans and projects – most notably Communities in Motion, the regional long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties, and the Regional Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP.

This time, we’re asking for your feedback on our public involvement plan. Yes, we are conducting public involvement on public involvement.

COMPASS’ public involvement program is one part of COMPASS’ overall communication program. The work that COMPASS does affects every resident of Ada and Canyon Counties; therefore, we strive to involve all residents in our planning efforts. Depending on circumstances, that participation may range from being an active participant throughout a planning process, such as serving on a committee, to submitting comments on a draft plan.

The public involvement plan is part of a larger COMPASS Integrated Communication Plan. As all of COMPASS’ communication programs are interrelated, COMPASS chose to include its public involvement plan under the “umbrella” of its broader communication plan. This allows the user of the plan to better understand how different aspects of COMPASS’ communication programs support and augment each other.

COMPASS has developed a public involvement plan to serve two primary purposes:

1. To help you, COMPASS stakeholders and the general public, know what to expect from COMPASS when we conduct public outreach. The public involvement plan tells you where you to find public comment forms and other public comment materials, how we promote opportunities for public comment, how we use your comments, and more.

2. To help COMPASS staff understand what is expected of them. The plan outlines best practices for our staff to use when engaging in public involvement. Our staff will use the plan as a checklist to ensure we are meeting, and whenever possible, exceeding, all requirements for public involvement.  

The public involvement plan outlines requirements, recommended best practices, and optional outreach elements for public involvement on different types of plans and projects. These provide a base from which to build, while allowing COMPASS staff the flexibility to assess each situation individually and use additional, creative outreach elements as they are appropriate for the plan or project.

While we welcome comments on any portion of the COMPASS Integrated Communication Plan, we are particularly seeking feedback on the public involvement plan section (Section II, Chapters 2 – 6). These chapters include an overview of COMPASS’ public involvement processes (Chapter 2), and project-specific public participation guides for plans and programs for which we regularly seek public involvement, including the public involvement plan itself (Chapter 3), the long-range transportation plan (Chapter 4), the Regional Transportation Improvement Program (Chapter 5), and other plans and projects (Chapter 6). I encourage you to take a few minutes to review the plan and let us know what you think.

Visit www.compassidaho.org/comm/comments.htm to review the plan and submit your comments online. You will also find a list of libraries in the two county area where you can review a hard copy of the plan. And, of course, you are always welcome to stop by the COMPASS office to pick up a copy, or request one be sent to you in the mail. Contact COMPASS at 208/475-2229 or aluft@compassidaho.org for assistance or with questions.

Comments will be accepted through 11:59 pm, Sunday, May 31, 2015.

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Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho

COMPASS is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning in Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Board comprises 39 members representing the cities, counties, highway districts, educational institutions, state agencies, and other entities within the two counties. COMPASS plays an important role in making decisions about future long-range transportation needs in the Treasure Valley, taking into consideration environmental and economic factors that affect the quality of life.