Dormont Borough officials last week began the process of developing a comprehensive plan for the borough, a project that hasn’t been completed since 1995.
“This is day three,” said Scott Page, in an interview with Dormont-Brookline Patch on Thursday. “This is about as early in the process as it gets. This is the fact-finding stage, where we get to know Dormont, collect available data and put together our own.”
Page is an urban designer and planner, and founding principal of Philadelphia-based Interface Studio. The company has done work in the Pittsburgh and Chicago areas, and will be leading Dormont’s comprehensive plan process.
Page and his team were camped out in Dormont Municipal Center for much of last week, interviewing staff, council members and others about the borough.
Interface presented information about the plan at a public meeting on Feb. 19. The PowerPoint the group presented is available on the Dormont Borough website, and also is attached to this article as a PDF document.
It’s the beginning of a process that will heavily involve residents, relying on their input, feedback and impressions of what can make the borough better.
“The borough needs to have a conversation about what it wants to be when it grows up,” said council President Bill McCartney. “That’s what comprehensive plan does. It allows community to come together and say ‘this is what we want to be.’”
In short, a comprehensive plan takes into account every aspect of a borough and organizes it.
Its purpose is to guide the policies and procedures of a borough, including where and how money is spent, and to examine a variety of other issues, including zoning housing, parks, community programs and borough services, transportation, businesses and neighborhoods.
The state mandates that comprehensive plans be updated every ten years. Dormont’s was last updated in 1995.
“Obviously a lot has changed since 1995, so we need a plan to reflect today’s realities, and the challenges that face Dormont now. We have to look into all of these things, and then the way we put together the plan is that we have to listen to the community very closely.”
It will take about a year to complete the comprehensive plan process, and residents, as well as council members and borough staff, will be able to review and contribute to plans throughout.
When community input is needed, Page said Interface plans to use every available form of communication to let residents know what’s happening. Public meetings, smaller committee-type meetings and surveys likely will be part of that process, although those details have not yet been finalized.
“The process is going to involve a lot of public outreach and we’re looking to get a lot of public support,” said borough manager Jeff Naftal. “It will be moving forward rather rapidly from here.”
The Dormont Borough website and Dormont-Brookline Patch both will provide updates.