The City's updated 2011 Comprehensive Plan, or Comp Plan, offers goals, objectives, actions, and strategies for the community's long-term growth and development. The Comp Plan, an important guide to local decision makers, addresses a wide range of important issues—from the rebuilding of neighborhoods damaged by Hurricane Ike to the quality and character of development islandwide.
Building on recently completed plans and studies, including the Long-Term Community Recovery Plan and the Hazard Mitigation Plan, the Comp Plan provides strategies for community improvement, quality development, capital investments, and the conservation of important natural resources.
The Planning Process
The 2011 Comp Plan represents an update to the 2001 Galveston Comprehensive Plan (2001 Plan) and is a culmination of work first initiated by City Council in 2007. To guide the process of plan development, City Council appointed a Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee (Steering Committee) to review the 2001 Plan and make necessary updates and modifications. The Steering Committee consisted of over 30 local volunteers who ensured that the Comp Plan was crafted to reflect the vision, values, aspirations, and priorities of the Galveston stakeholders.
The Steering Committee created several subcommittees to focus on key strategic directions pertaining to the following existing and new elements:
- Housing and Neighborhoods Element;
- Economic Development Element;
- Land Use & Community Character Element;
- Historic Preservation Element;
- Natural Resources Element;
- Transportation Element;
- Infrastructure Element;
- Disaster Response Element; and
- Human Element.
Visioning for the Plan occurred in early 2008. The Steering Committee developed a vision statement that was presented to the public for feedback in a series of small-scaled public meetings held in February and March 2008. The Plan’s goals and objectives were drafted during summer 2008 and were about to be presented to public in fall 2008 when Hurricane Ike interrupted the process.
In the weeks after the storm, the community’s focus shifted to the Long-Term Community Recovery Plan process and the development of “a vision, goals, and projects that would move Galveston along the road to full recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Ike.” (Long-Term Community Recovery Plan, 2009) Many members of the Steering Committee became part of the Galveston Community Recovery Committee (Recovery Committee).
Following completion of the Long-Term Community Recovery Plan, the Comp Plan update process resumed in early 2010. Several members of the Steering Committee who no longer resided on the Island resigned from the committee and many new members were added, including several who participated on the Recovery Committee. During 2010, the subcommittees began the process of updating existing elements and drafting new elements.
The final stage of work on the Comp Plan update began in February 2011, as the City staff and their planning consultants reviewed the draft elements and met with the Steering Committee to discuss potential refinements and the public review process. The draft elements were refined and presented to the City Council, Planning Commission, other city boards and commissions at a joint workshop in March 2011. A public review draft was released that included an introduction to the Comp Plan and minor revisions to the elements.
Finalization of the Comp Plan was guided by an extensive public engagement process between April and June 2011. The process included: online distribution of the draft plan, community stakeholder workshops; a public opinion survey distributed to City residents and available online; and a series of focus groups conducted by the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities at UTMB Health to identify participants’ priorities and recommendations for the Comp Plan.
In July and August 2011, City staff and their consulting team worked with the Steering Committee to review public feedback; identify priorities for plan objectives, strategies, and actions; and prepare a Public Review Draft of the Comp Plan that includes an Implementation Chapter with an Action Plan. The final draft was based on the Steering Committee’s recommendations and public input, and was presented to the Planning Commission, Landmark Commission, and City Council for consideration and action in fall 2011. City Council adopted the Comp Plan on October 27, 2011.