Freese and Nichols assisted the City of Odessa in the process of updating its comprehensive plan, Envision Odessa. The oil and gas resurgence in the Permian Basin brought many new economic opportunities to the region, including new residential, office, commercial and retail growth. The resurgence also brought its own sets of challenges including accommodating surface uses while providing legally required access to mineral rights, unregulated industrial growth along corridors, heavy trucking traffic, water to support growth and housing shortages, among others. Envision Odessa addressed many of these challenges while also providing a new look at how growth and development should occur within the city moving forward.
The planning process re-examined the City’s vision through extensive public input. Public meetings, downtown meetings, walking tours, before/after renderings and a community survey were some of the methods used to obtain feedback from the public. Odessa’s population is more than 50 percent Hispanic and the inclusion of the Hispanic community was given special attention including using Spanish on outreach materials and an interactive Envision Odessa booth at the City’s largest annual event, Fiesta West Texas. Finally, meetings with young professionals groups and other civic organizations ensured that a wide cross-section of the community was engaged.
Envision Odessa focused heavily on redevelopment and housing infill. Five special area plans called urban villages were created. The urban village concept enables the city to concentrate its redevelopment resources into key neighborhood centers that are geographically distributed throughout the community. The largest urban village is Downtown Odessa. Strategies and a vision for downtown revitalization were created to guide the creation of a vibrant, livable and workable downtown.
The comprehensive planning process began in January of 2014 and was completed in the fall of 2015.