How Not to Do Public Consultation

I went to a merchants’ meeting tonight at the Downtown Overland Park Partnership that was led by a senior planner from the City of Overland Park.  He was there to talk to local merchants and landowners (I was ‘representing’ my dad, but really I just am interested) about the changes the city is proposing to zoning and codes for Downtown Overland Park as part of the new vision for Overland Park.

Personally I think there is a lot of potential in Downtown Overland Park (my family’s ‘hood for over 50 years) for growth and development, and I’m excited about the changes.  That apparently did not come across to the planner when I was talking at the meeting.  He got incredibly defensive about every question I (and a developer) asked, wanting to focus on very broad concepts about what the city is planning.  Come on, this visioning process has been going on for at least 2 years, if not 3.  Everybody generally gets it.  It’s time to move on to how this is actually going to be implemented. Even though I didn’t always agree with my former boss, he was usually right on the mark when it came to town centre revitalisation strategies, and he always focused on the implementation aspect.

Note to that senior planner at the City of Overland Park:  you don’t represent yourself, the city, or your presentation topic well when you immediately get defensive and downright rude.

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