Lubbock Comprehensive Plan Embraces Collaboration for Fully Connected Response to Growth

Four Freese and Nichols projects have won Project of the Year Awards from the American Planning Association – Texas Chapter. Plan Lubbock 2040 received the Comprehensive Plan Award.

Plan Lubbock 2040, the City’s first comprehensive planning effort in more than three decades, is the product of a City that listens.

Recommendations in the Plan will continue to shape Lubbock’s planning and development, inform funding strategies, and sustain a community poised for growth. In the true spirit of planning and collaboration, the process aligned current city infrastructure and other plans to develop a truly comprehensive vision for growth in Lubbock. As a result, the Plan outlines future land use; transportation; water; wastewater; stormwater; economic development; community livability; and parks, trails and open space over the next 20 years.

The principles and concepts gathered, analyzed and recommended in the Plan are practical and instrumental. The yearlong engagement process included an online survey, a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), subcommittees (Future Land Use, Infrastructure and Parks), numerous stakeholder interviews and open houses.

Three of the five recommended priorities are underway. This forward motion, just one year after formal adoption, affirms the Plan’s community support and timeliness of relevant priorities to keep the American dream alive in Lubbock.

In the true spirit of planning and collaboration, the process embraced current plans associated with city infrastructure improvements to develop a fully connected response to growth. As a result, the Plan outlines detailed strategic initiatives addressing future land use; transportation; water; wastewater; stormwater; economic development; community livability; and parks, trails and open space over the next 20 years.

Although a formal comprehensive plan hadn’t been in place for many years, it didn’t mean Lubbock’s history lacked in planning initiatives or progress. There were nearly 20 documented efforts (dating back to 1986) of plans and policies related to city infrastructure, transit, to name a few. However, none of these initiatives provided a unified comprehensive vision for growth. Even still, Freese and Nichols sought to understand existing initiatives and align the new Plan to meet Lubbock’s needs today and tomorrow.

The Plan also serves as a usable end product through ease of use and cross reference. Recommendations are clearly aligned with core goals established in the beginning of the planning process and coinciding with public input gathered along the way.

Plan Lubbock 2040 stands out for its completeness, gathering public input from a successful yearlong process and aligning with existing economic and engineering plans.

At the outset of the project, 10 core ideas were developed through input from a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), an online survey, with 3,000+ survey respondents, and public workshops. These core ideas provided high-level organization for issues and challenges, and they served as the basis for a new vision, bringing together existing ideas and blending in new priorities to inform Plan recommendations. This process and methodology served as a driver for the Plan’s quality, in order to have a solid foundation for recommendations and priorities. In addition, the development of core ideas established a clear link for input tied to specific recommendations, strategies and actions in the Plan. This resulting flow of input allowed the CPAC to translate the 10 core ideas into 16 priorities based on functional elements for plan integration and a quality deliverable for implementation.

A well-defined Implementation Matrix has been instrumental in providing a “checklist” to make sure the adopted Plan continues to move forward. The Matrix outlines how to implement each recommendation and which entities are involved, combined with impact, cost and timeline. Cross references for research and explanation increase credibility for the City to proceed with each recommendation.​​​​​​​

In addition to the Matrix, the Plan provided two primary methods of implementation: proactive (i.e., financing improvements and updating regulations) and reactive (i.e., approving plans and policies consistent with the Plan). Used together, proactive and reactive steps allow the City to successfully implement the Plan and fully realize its benefits.

Success of the adopted Plan is clear. Projects identified in three of the five recommended Plan priorities are underway: adopting impact fees, updating the zoning ordinance and developing neighborhood plans for underutilized neighborhoods. The rapid growth of Lubbock has many benefits, including a financial impact. Adopting impact fees will help fund needed infrastructure improvements, and the new zoning ordinance will help manage growth and facilitate a better “fit” into the existing fabric of the community.