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City Planner talks Comp. Plan with Rotarians

Wagoner City Planner Taylor Tannehill addressed a group of Rotarians last month, explaining the ins and outs of his ongoing work towards the city’s first 20-year comprehensive plan, aptly called Re:Imagine Wagoner.

Most recently the planner has been working on rating the sidewalks and houses around the city. Many citizens may have seen Tannehill riding his bike or walking during the day, taking notes on the condition of the walking areas, vacant houses and dilapidated buildings.

Tannehill told Rotarians that he estimated the sidewalk and houses rating took about four months to complete, but the data gathered from the project was “invaluable,” according to Tannehill.

In the interim of the full Re:Imagine Wagoner comprehensive plan being released – which the city hopes will be presented and accepted at the July council meeting, Tannehill has released and made public a portion of that plan, called the “Existing Conditions Report.”

This report identifies eight key elements and the structure of the plan. Those are: (1) land use, (2) transportation, (3) housing, (4) parks and recreation, (5) economic development, (6) historic preservation, (7) city facilities and (8) city governance.

The comprehensive planning process was started by Tannehill in October 2016. Before that it had been nearly 40 years since the last adoption of a comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 1981 as a joint effort with the county. Although that plan did lead to changes taking place and goals being met, in the time since then, new challenges and opportunities have arisen.

To start the plan, Tannehill began his research and set up a “steering committee” to oversee data gathering and direction of the plan. The committee is made up of various professionals around Wagoner. The first steering committee meeting was held July 2017. At the first meeting the eight aforementioned elements of the plan were identified to be included in the plan of study.

The committee also looked over and evaluated several other communities’ comprehensive plans to “educate them on what a comprehensive plan entails and the breadth of information they will be working on …,” Tannehill said.

What is a comprehensive plan?

“(The comprehensive plan) is a twenty-year plan for development in the City of Wagoner,” Tannehill said. “Within that twenty-year timeframe, the City will work to enhance the quality of life of its residents.”

“Without an official ‘roadmap’ to achieve the quality of life improvements it is difficult to understand the breadth of the various developments needed to truly improve the daily lives of citizens,” he added.

To get the most precise data possible, Tannehill and the City went through the arduous data gathering process by “engaging citizens of Wagoner via a communitywide survey and community input event,” he said.

The data gathering portion of the plan took over a year to complete – from October 2016 through December 2017. The city also partnered with the Grand River Dam Authority to interview and get input from high school students. All the data gathered went to the steering committee to implement into the plan.

Tannehill told Rotarians he hoped the plan would be adopted – by vote of the city council – at the July council meeting. 
“We will also be holding public hearings between now and that (July) date,” Tannehill told the Wagoner County American-Tribune. “We want public comment on the overall document … for public scrutiny.”

The planner fielded questions from Rotarians to conclude his presentation, explaining that this plan would prepare Wagoner for growth and development in a streamlined, organized and achievable way for the next 20 years.