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Ensuring Plan Progress

Implementation is a dynamic, ongoing process that requires monitoring, review, and periodic Plan updates based on progress and changing community conditions. Key components of this process include 1) a system to monitor implementation; 2) an annual progress report and work program; and 3) procedures to amend and update the Comprehensive Plan over time. The City should continue to engage community members and stakeholders as the Plan is implemented, and keep the public informed about progress, amendments, and subsequent actions.

Monitoring Implementation Progress

Progress on Plan implementation is measured through the monitoring of individual actions and through the use of performance measures or metrics. 

Implementation monitoring tracks whether or not actions identified in the comprehensive plan are being carried out. Once this Plan is adopted, a “Status” column will be added to Table 6-1 to track overall progress in implementing each action. A more detailed tracking tool should be developed for actions identified in the one-year work program.

Performance monitoring involves the use of numeric targets (or metrics) that can be used to measure progress in achieving a specific goal over time. An example is the Vision Zero Plan’s aspiration to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries on Lancaster’s streets by 2030. Other examples include the reduction in gallons of combined sanitary-stormwater sewer overflows (CSO) into the Conestoga River and the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations. 

The City should develop and maintain a set of metrics to monitor progress in implementing the Comprehensive Plan. Some of these metrics already exist in existing plans (such as Vision Zero and Green It! Lancaster). Others can be developed for actions in the short-term work program. The Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan (GC–2.1A), for example, should set targets and indicators of progress for meeting community needs for parks and recreation. 

Annual Progress Report and Work Program

Progress reports should be completed annually in coordination with the annual budget and capital improvement processes. Using the results of implementation and performance monitoring, the annual review should focus on progress made in completing actions in the previous year’s work program while addressing the status of other items contained in the Action Table. The review should also address changes in community conditions, priorities, and any new initiatives launched during the previous year that may affect implementation moving forward. A progress report should be made publicly available so that community members and stakeholders are aware of the assessment and have an opportunity to provide input on current issues and priorities.

A primary function of the progress report is to inform development of an annual work program that identifies priority actions for the coming year. The work program itself should inform the annual City budget and capital improvements program. Its format should be modeled after the detailed work program to be developed for high-priority actions after the Comprehensive Plan is adopted. Key implementation partners, such as local non-profits and other agencies, should be engaged in developing the program, as it may also affect their resources and workloads.

Future Plan Updates

The comprehensive plan is not a static document. Rather, it is a dynamic instrument designed to be amended as conditions change and new issues and opportunities arise. Keeping the Plan current and relevant requires that procedures be established to guide regular reviews, amendments, and updates. This is especially important given increasing uncertainty in today’s world, as well as changes in property ownership, development trends, and market conditions.

This Comprehensive Plan, Our Future Lancaster, is the first major update in 30 years. It effectively amounts to a new Plan. Lesser revisions and amendments are anticipated between now and the Plan’s horizon year, in accordance with the guidance below. 

Minor Amendments: In addition to evaluating implementation progress each year, the annual progress report should identify any minor modifications or additions to the existing Plan that may be needed. A regular procedure for minor amendments should be developed, including amendments initiated by City staff and those requested by others. 

Five-Year Update: A more in-depth review of the Comprehensive Plan should be conducted every five years. The purpose of the five-year update is to evaluate implementation accomplishments and challenges; address changes that have occurred since the Plan was adopted; and affirm or adjust Plan priorities, policies, and actions as needed (in other words, to “reset” the plan for the next five years). 

Ten-Year Update: By the 10-year mark, many of the initial actions contained in this Plan will have been carried out. Community conditions will have changed, new issues and priorities will emerge, and new policies and actions may be required to address them. For these reasons, the City should conduct a more substantial Plan update every 10 years, including a meaningful community engagement process. By grounding the Plan in community values and aspirations, the next Comprehensive Plan should build on this and previous planning efforts, again setting the direction for Lancaster to be an equitable, sustainable, and prosperous 21st Century community.