A draft of the long-range planning document for the city and county is getting closer to completion.
Horizon 2020, the long-range planning document for Lawrence and Douglas County, should be available for the public to scrutinize by the end of the year.
But until then, the Horizon 2020 steering committee wants to work on a draft of the document out of the public eye, Jean Milstead, chair of the steering committee, said Thursday night.
"I'm hoping in the next six weeks we will get a draft that the committee will approve and provide to the planning commission," Milstead told about a dozen members of the Citizens For a Progressive Douglas County at the Lawrence Public Library.
During the meeting, Milstead reviewed the progress that has been made on the document this year.
Milstead, who also is a member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission, said she hoped that when a draft is put together, it could be presented at a joint study session of the planning commission, the Lawrence City Commission and the Douglas County Commission.
Milstead said although the consultant provided the steering committee with a copy of the plan in May, that draft was highly technical and difficult to understand.
Since then, the planning staff has been trying to put it into a more workable, easy-to-read format, she said.
"One of the reasons, truthfully, that we have made this one difficult for people to get a hold of is because we knew that changes would have to be made, and we didn't want it to be out in the public talking about things that weren't going to come about," she said.
Milstead said the steering committee has been criticized for not having the draft available.
"From my standpoint, I have been working on this for almost four years, and selfishly, I'd like to have my say so now," Milstead said. "We've had lots of public hearings, we've had group meetings, we've had task forces. ... We have done so much listening and have so much material that I think the community needs to trust the steering committee to do the job that they were appointed to do."
However, Milstead said, the steering committee still is taking public input.
The steering committee will meet from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 15 in the city commission room at city hall to review the latest changes in the document, she said.
Milstead said the commercial development section of the plan had inconsistencies in the terminology used, such as neighborhood shopping centers, commercial shopping centers and "big box" retail areas, such as those on South Iowa. She said different terminology was used for different areas of the city.
"We've asked the staff to go back through and make those changes," she said.
She said the draft is not yet complete because it lacks maps, reference tables and charts. She said transportation component still needs to be added, based on the city's long-range transportation plan.