It is important to document the planning process to: 1) inform the public and others about the overall approach to the plan’s development and 2) serve as a permanent record of who was involved and how decisions were made. This record will be useful for the next plan update.
There are several requirements related to documentation of stakeholder and public involvement opportunities during the planning process:
- The plan must document how it was prepared and who was involved in the planning process for each jurisdiction. This includes the schedule or timeframe and activities that made up the plan’s development.
- The plan must identify all planning team members and stakeholders who were involved or given an opportunity to be involved in the planning process, including the agency/organization and the person’s position or title within the agency.
- The plan must document how the public was given the opportunity to be involved in the planning process and how their feedback was incorporated into the plan. The opportunity for participation must occur during the plan’s development, which is prior to the comment period on the final plan and prior to plan adoption and approval.
- The plan must describe how the jurisdiction(s) will continue public participation in the plan maintenance process.
Plan updates must include documentation of the current planning process undertaken to update the plan.
A simple narrative of the planning process can meet these requirements. It is also helpful to provide other forms of documentation, such as copies of meeting minutes, agendas, sign-in sheets, and newspaper articles, to help inform the reader. This type of documentation could be included as an appendix to the plan.
The mitigation plan should include a description of the planning process that answers the questions “who, what, when, where, and how” of the plan’s development. A good description could easily be developed by integrating the outreach strategy into the scope of work and schedule confirmed by the planning team and incorporating this information into the plan. Overall, the plan document should provide enough information to tell the story of how the community developed the plan.
New Hanover County, NC
New Hanover County was identified as a best practice several times for this task, and as such also does an excellent job of documenting its planning process. The plan contains an appendix of all the public meeting notices, agendas for the Steering Committee meetings and public meetings, and sign in sheets.