Decision Making Model for Municipal Planners in the State of Texas
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Purpose: The purpose of this research is to develop a practical ideal model for processing municipal land development applications for Texas cities, looking specifically at how best the public can be involved in the process while maintaining efficiency. Methodology: To achieve this purpose, the literature will be reviewed to establish the basic elements that are required to develop the ideal model. Based on the findings of the literature, a survey will be administered to gauge the views and opinions of practicing city planners on how those elements should be utilized. Finally, those views and opinions will be compiled into a practical ideal model or "best practice", which Texas cities can use to better process land development applications. Results: Overall, the research indicates that the public is best able to participate in the planning and development process through elected and appointed groups such as the city council, planning and zoning commissions, and zoning board of adjustment; while the city staff is best able to approve applications quickly and efficiently. Thus, the amount of decision-making authority each group should have in the processing of applications depends on the legal requirements and the technicality of the development project. Conclusion: The ideal model indicates that the amount of time and public participation an application should go through depends on how conceptual it is. Applications to approve the concept of development projects should be reviewed publicly by groups such as the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission while applications that are more technical and less conceptual should only be reviewed administratively by the municipality's staff of professional planners for compliance with the already approved concept.