As reported by several media outlets last week, Lafayette Consolidated Government, working with contractor WRT (Wallace Roberts & Todd) has postponed the third community forum series in the development of the Lafayette Comprehensive Plan.
The scope of the plan development calls for four community forums series. The four series are the primary method of collecting public input during the planning process. The third series, called “Selecting a Preferred Future”, involves community members selecting from four possible alternatives for how Lafayette Parish will grow in the next twenty years.
“We have had a lot of people participate in this planning process so far, and we ask all of them to stay involved. But, we think this delay is critical because complacency about this effort is the greatest threat to our community’s future. We can’t just show up. We must understand the choices before us and feel a sense of urgency. Our ability to compete at a national level and make wise spending decisions that reflect our shared priorities depends on the public’s involvement and understanding,” said City-Parish President Joey Durel in a statement.
The first series of public meetings, called Issues and Aspirations, was held in April 2012, and allowed members of the public the opportunity to share their visions about Lafayette 20 years from now. The second series was held in November of last year and residents were asked to compare current community trends with the vision. The third series was originally scheduled for late February.
A group of interested business leaders met Friday to begin a coordinated effort between the business community, LCG, and the consultants to ensure better outreach and public participation. That group included Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Rob Eddy, Frank Neuner, Cathi Pavy, Cydra Wingerter, Nathan Norris, LCG staff, and several members of the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CPCAC) including Chairman Kevin Blanchard.
“The business community is supportive of this change in the schedule as it will give more time to make sure that the public understands this process and how it will impact Lafayette. When you talk about running government like a business, the development of a comprehensive plan is one of the few opportunities you get to develop a type of business plan for a community. I applaud LCG for recognizing that the business community and the public needs more of an opportunity to learn the material. This should be a win-win for all of us, and it should motivate all of us to stay involved. As Chairman of the Board of the Chamber, we are committed to putting our resources behind this effort for the good of our entire community,” said Rob Eddy, Board Chair of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.