Purpose, Process and Timeline

Master plans provide a common city framework for planning the delivery and funding of services, facilities and programs, as well as policies. The facility and service priorities and funding plan established through the master planning process provide the basis for capital improvement programming. All master plans are developed consistent with the city’s Community Sustainability + Resilience Framework, as well as the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP). The BVCP states that the “planning period” for master plans is to be 15 years. However, this period may vary for different master plans.

The master planning process involves four major steps that occur over approximately two years. Each step below includes check-ins, review and input from the community, relevant city departments, Planning Board and City Council.

  • Step 1 - Scope, Schedule and Public Process – Key steps include identifying stakeholders and underserved and underrepresented people most impacted by the plan. Staff use the Engagement Strategic Framework, with attention to the public process for outreach to underserved and underrepresented people as well as input from stakeholders and the general public. The project timeline anticipates the public process, plan development and formal review steps.
  • Step 2 – Systems Overview, Needs Assessment and Current Priorities – This step establishes the current state of the department (services offered, how funding is allocated among department priorities, etc.), evaluates services in the context of industry or other service standards, and examines emerging or unmet needs. Phase II includes an assessment of the department’s mission and how each currently funded service contributes to achieving it.
  • Step 3 – Develop the Master Plan Document – Key Focus Areas and Issues to be addressed in the plan are developed based on work completed in Step II, including ongoing feedback from the community, Planning Board and council. Discussion of Key Focus Areas and Issues will incorporate policies, programs and initiatives to achieve them. After input on Key Focus Areas and Issues, the department develops the draft master plan, which receives further review and revision before proceeding to the acceptance process.
  • Step 4 – Acceptance Process - The draft plan review and acceptance process comprises final consideration by the public as well as Planning Board and City Council reviews, with public hearings.

Steps 2 and 3 above include categorizing projects, programs and services into three levels:

  • Current Funding – a prioritized, refocused service plan within existing budget targets.
  • Action Plan – service expansion or restoration when funding is available either within current revenue sources, or if new sources should become available.
  • Vision Plan – the complete set of services and facilities desired by the community and aligned with values and policies, with alternative proposals to fund them.

Step 1 of the master planning project will be important to design a thoughtful process, including robust and inclusive public engagement. To implement this step, as well as the entire process, staff recommends creation of a Police Master Plan Process Subcommittee comprised of two council members. A similar subcommittee structure has been used with other master plans. The process subcommittee will work with other core members of the master planning team – including the project manager, City Manager’s Office, master planning coordinator (Planning), the finance coordinator and community engagement lead. Part of the role of the two councilmembers on the subcommittee is to “champion” the project, using their knowledge of the in-depth work behind the process to help explain its evolution to peers, stakeholders and the community.

A principal aspect of the process will be integration of the city’s racial equity work with the Police Master Plan steps. The city’s Equity Program Manager will be a key team member helping to design a project applying an equity focus throughout community engagement, development of priorities, key issues and plan drafts.

Staff and the process subcommittee would plan to return to council in early 2021 to present the results of Step 1 work on the scope, schedule and public process.