Plans in Play

The Big Eight

No public resource provides a comprehensive list of all current long-range planning efforts in the region. (No agency we contacted had an in-house version, either.) A master list is needed to help citizens track all the plans, get up-to-date information, and participate in public processes. Toward that end, here's the Chronicle's Austin-centric short list of the regional Big Eight in play.

City of Austin

Plans in Play

Comprehensive Plan: Imagine Austin

Horizon: 30 Years

Adopted: Spring 2012 (anticipated)

Description: Actively under way, this is the city's first update of its comprehensive plan since the Austin Tomorrow Plan was adopted in the late 1970s. The scope includes 10 elements required by City Charter; more may be added. Once the plan is adopted, the charter requires a complete update every five years.

Scope: Land use and development patterns, transportation, mass transit, traffic/congestion, water/wastewater, solid waste, energy, utilities conservation and environmental resources, public buildings, facilities, services, expenditures, recreation and open space, economic development, housing, health and human services, etc.

Geographic Area: City of Austin and its extraterritorial jurisdiction

Related Plans: Strategic Mobility Plan; Downtown Austin Plan; Austin Energy Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan to 2020; transit-oriented development and corridor plans (all in progress); CreateAustin Cultural Master Plan; Waller Creek District Master Plan; Austin Climate Protection Plan and departmental plans; Community Climate Action Plan; Austin Parks and Recreation Department long-range plan and Arts and Parks plan; Watershed Protection Master Plan; Housing Action Plan/Strategy; Department of Aviation long-range plan; Austin Water long-range plan; Austin Public Library Strategic Plan; Bicycle Master Plan; Sidewalk Master Plan; annual departmental capital improvement plans; etc.

Austin Energy

Plans in Play

Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan: More Than Electricity

Horizon: 2020

Adopted: Approved April 22, pending September finalization

Description: This plan implements goals established in the Austin Climate Protection Plan, adopted by City Council in 2007. Developed with community input, the plan charts a course for AE to increase its use of renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass) from 10% in 2010 to 35% by 2020. Proportionately, use of coal-generated, nuclear, and natural gas power would decrease. Before implementation, AE will develop an additional affordability element addressing impact on customer rates. The plan will be updated as market and regulatory conditions and clean-energy technologies evolve and will be formally reassessed biannually in a public forum.

Scope: Electricity, energy, greenhouse-gas emissions

Service Area: City of Austin, about one-third of Travis County, portion of Williamson County (totaling 437 square miles and nearly 1 million people)

Related Plans: Austin Climate Protection Plan (Community Climate Action Plan), 8-Hour Ozone Flex Program, Austin Energy Strategic Plan

Austin Independent School District

Plans in Play

Five-Year Strategic Plan: The Power of Us

Horizon: 2010-2015

Adopted: December 2009

Description: AISD's strategic plan sets a goal for the district to become nationally recognized as outstanding. It guides educational philosophy, aspirations for student achievement, fiscal decision-making, and operational focus. Measur­able outcomes are established for TAKS performance, closing achievement gaps (ethnic, economic), graduation rates, and college readiness/enrollment. None of the primary goals, strategies, or measurable outcomes involves neighborhood/regional planning, urban design, or sustainability. But for 2011, an action step is to "Increase collaboration with other entities to support such areas as affordable housing, health and human services, and community planning." AISD is now developing its first long-range facilities master plan, which will focus on conservation and sustainability. A facilities master plan task force is gathering community input; its recommendations go to the AISD board in November.

Scope: K-12 education, land use and development patterns (campus locations), energy and water conservation (future facilities plan), social equity, economic opportunity

Geographic Area: School district

Related Plans: Fourteen neighboring districts (all fully or partly in Travis County) have plans of their own: Del Valle, Eanes, Lago Vista, Lake Travis, Manor, Pflugerville, Coupland, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Hays Consolidated, Johnson City, Leander, Round Rock, and Marble Falls school districts.

Austin Community College

Plans in Play

Master Plan: Start Here. Get There.

Horizon: 2011-2013

Adopted: July 5

Description: The ACC board annually reviews and adopts a "rolling three-year" master plan; its 2011-2013 update will be adopted in July. Campus expansions throughout Central Texas are a major focus. The current 2010-2012 master plan, aligned with the Texas Closing the Gaps initiative, sets a goal to increase enrollment for minority, economically disadvantaged, and first-in-family college students. The plan anticipates serving 60,000 additional students by 2015 and focuses on work force education, high-demand career fields, building foundation skills for those not yet college-ready, academically preparing students for transfer to a four-year university, and lifelong learning.

Scope: Education, land-use and development patterns (new campus sites and expansions), taxing districts

Related Plans: The college is working on individual campus master plans to be completed by the end of 2010.

Geographic Area: The ACC district includes the city of Austin and the Austin, Leander, Manor, Del Valle, and Round Rock school districts. The ACC Master Plan calls for expanding the taxing district to other ISDs – with new campuses in Bastrop, Elgin, Kyle, and San Marcos – subject to successful annexation elections. ACC recently has announced a series of corresponding land acquisitions in the first three ­cities.

Travis County

Plans in Play

Strategic Needs Analysis and Facilities Master Plan (Travis County Compre­hen­sive Plan)

Horizon: 2035

Adopted: Summer 2011 (anticipated)

Description: Work on a new Travis County comprehensive plan has just begun; it's anticipated to take about a year. The old plan ("Travis Tomorrow") dates to the 1990s. Meanwhile, the county has been backing into a mission-based plan by doing long-term strategic planning for its facilities to accommodate growth needs of all county services. The county is preparing a Strategic Needs Analysis and Facilities Master Plan for its central campus (Downtown Austin) and north campus (Airport Boulevard). The central campus plan is further along; staff expect both to be completed about the same time next year.

Scope: Comprehensive planning; facilities; county courts, criminal justice, and other services; urban planning (Downtown Austin, Airport Boulevard)

Geographic Area: Travis County

Capital Metro

Plans in Play

Service Plan 2020

Horizon: 2020

Adopted: February 2010

Description: The transit authority's 10-year bus service plan is a comprehensive analysis of its bus system and routes. A key goal is to increase transit ridership in order to manage traffic congestion and improve regional air quality. It recommends specific, cost-effective improvements, including new commuter, park-and-ride, and MetroRapid services. Some core transit corridors would get more frequent service; other low ridership routes are to be cut. As a road map for growth, it considers the travel patterns, connectivity, projected needs, and growth of the whole Central Texas region. It implements bus elements of All Systems Go!, the agency's 20-year plan to expand transit service.

Scope: Public transportation, sustainability

Geographic Area: The Capital Metro service area includes the most populated parts of Travis County and extends into Williamson County.

Related Plans Adopted: All Systems Go! Long-Range Transit Plan (2004)

Lower Colorado River Authority

Plans in Play

Water Supply Resource Plan: Energy. Water. Community Services.

Horizon: 2100

Adopted: Aug. 25 (anticipated)

Description: This plan establishes a road map for how LCRA will meet future water needs through the year 2100. Anticipating sizable population growth in Central Texas, the plan identifies current and future water supply options, their potential costs, and strategies to provide water as customers need it. It seeks to ensure a 20-year supply while anticipating droughts and rising temperatures due to climate change.

Scope: Water availability, clean water, conservation, electric power generation, regional growth and development patterns, environmental protection, recreation, affordability, and support of economic growth and agriculture

Geographic Area: Fifteen-county water supply planning area within 33-county LCRA water service area (600-mile stretch) on the Colorado River between San Saba and the Gulf Coast

Related Plans Adopted: Water Management Plan for short-term drought management approved by TCEQ in January; new WMP goes to board August 2012. *Also, see note below.

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

Plans in Play

CAMPO 2035 Regional Transportation Plan: People, Plan­ning and Preparing for the Future

Horizon: 2035

Adopted: May 2010

Description: A "regional growth concept" that favors devel­op­ment around denser "activity nodes" is a new policy direction for CAMPO, formalized in its 2035 Region­al Transportation Plan. It promotes alternatives to solo commuting and car travel in order to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. It includes programs and policies (and financing strategies) for roads, rail, transit, freight, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities. The plan is required by federal law; it has power, because it allocates federal monies for transportation projects. CAMPO is tasked with providing a "continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning process" for the area; the metropolitan transportation plan must be updated every five years. (Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization addresses rural needs and coordinates with CAMPO.)

Scope: Transportation, land use and development patterns, reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gases, environmental justice

Geographic Area: CAMPO's planning area includes Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Hays, and Caldwell counties.

Related Plans Adopted: Transportation Improvement Program (annual project list for federal funding), Unified Planning Work Program

*Note: The LCRA also helped prepare the Hays County Strategic Policy and Implementation Plan, recently endorsed by Hays County Commis­sioners. That plan addresses the next five years of transportation, growth management, economic development, quality of life, and related issues – anticipating an 18% rate of growth for the county through 2014 to a population of 182,620.

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