PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg City Commission voted Tuesday to adopt a Land Use Plan based on both staff recommendations and community input, though some commissioners questioned aspects of the plan before approving it.
"One of the public input notes was that planning has a tendency to be reactive rather than proactive," City of Pittsburg Assistant Planner Brittan Brenner said in presenting the plan, "and so this was an effort for us to get ahead of the game."
Brenner also noted that the plan is only a set of guidelines, and many further steps of the plan will require individual approval later on.
"These are just recommendations, so all of these are worded in a way that would invoke action based on the plan and the recommendations provided within it," Brenner told the commission. "By adopting this, no changes are made without coming to you again."
Asked by Commissioner Cheryl Brooks why the Pittsburg State University Master Plan came up in the city’s Land Use Plan, City Manager Daron Hall noted that the city and university share much of their infrastructure. "So that’s always been a capital planning effort that includes PSU, because they’re such a big footprint in our community," Hall said.
The Land Use Plan as approved Tuesday, including appendices, is more than 180 pages long. It covers a wide range of topics, from the kinds of development the city should prioritize in different areas to planning for stormwater runoff.
"The vision for the City of Pittsburg has been cast," the plan notes in the introduction to its "next steps and implementation" section. "To realize this vision, policies, projects, and people must align and work in concert. Complete implementation of the Plan requires a high level of trust, cooperation, and focused attention between residents, elected officials, city staff members, local businesses, the private sector, and community organizations - all whom must advance the Plan together."
Recommendations of the Land Use Plan include creation of a separate but related plan for downtown Pittsburg.
"As the heart and soul of the city, the downtown district merits a dedicated planning study," the Land Use Plan notes. "A downtown plan should outline ways to establish and promote the district as a regional draw that includes retail, housing, arts and entertainment, civic, office, cultural, residential, hospitality, and recreational uses. There should be a focus on rehabilitation of existing buildings and in infill development. The plan should also incorporate branding and aesthetics.
"Ultimately, the downtown plan should guide public and private improvement, development, redevelopment, and revitalization projects."
Noting that the input from about 600 community members was taken into consideration in the plan, Commissioner Chuck Munsell said that number was "not a lot of people" compared to the city’s population of about 20,000.
"Yeah it is," said Mayor Dawn McNay. "For something like this that’s huge."
Hall similarly said the input on the plan from the community should not be discounted.
"I think one thing we need to be careful of too is people are busy, and they have lives, and if we can get 600 people to weigh in on something, we need to be careful to not act like that’s insignificant because … it’s just going to send a message to people that unless there’s some huge number of thousands, we’re not going to listen to them," Hall said.
Hall also noted that the Imagine Pittsburg 2030 (IP2030) Committee has a "community conversation" event scheduled for Thursday starting at 6 p.m. at Butler’s Quarters, 513 N. Broadway, to give updates and hear public input on the subjects of education and housing, two of its strategic focus areas.
"I think we had 70 people at the last one, you know, I’d like to see 700 there, commissioner, but we’ve just got to go with what we’ve got," Hall said in response to Munsell’s concerns.