A Common Vision
The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to identify and articulate citizen’s values and goals and help the community achieve its desired future.
It is clear that the Plan must help the City to foster an enhanced quality of life for Olathe’s residents; ensure the City responds effectively to citizens’ social, economic, environmental, and development concerns; and achieve rational and logical patterns of growth.
The vision for Olathe may mean something different for different people. For its ambitious leaders, it has been simple: to create a plan that represents the community’s collective will to create a top tier American City. For all, it has been to create a welcoming community that continues to improve its quality of life.
City leaders, steering committee, stakeholders, and the public have given clear, early direction: decisions must be geared toward improving the quality of life of those who live in Olathe. Our exceptional quality of life is clearly our most important asset. Our great schools, family and business-friendly environment, and beautiful surroundings strengthen our City’s competitiveness. This is evident in local community planning efforts across the country, as well as in national surveys like Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live annual rankings and the Best Places Almanac (Money Magazine 2008 and Savageau 2000). The concept is that people relocate and settle in places that are appealing on various levels, providing a balance of economic stability, recreational opportunities, healthy surroundings, cultural experiences, and educational foundation. It is understood that communities that offer such amenities are better able to forge the social, civic, and cultural bonds that allow a community to prosper and flourish over time.
Quality of life factors are highly interwoven. Where we see communities with exceptional educational opportunities, we are also likely to find lower crime risks and a higher sense of well-being. This can attract cultural diversity, pride in the community, and, in turn, economic growth. Striving for high quality of life standards promotes a balanced, prosperous community.
Quality of life can measure how well people move around, where they live, their access to parks and recreation, the quality of their schools, the safety of their neighborhoods, access to quality jobs, and access to services and amenities. Essentially, the measure accounts for anything that affects an individual’s ability to lead a balanced, healthy, prosperous life.
To that end, our collective vision statement could be phrased as follows:
This will require that Olathe remain:
- Fluid – Embracing a balanced sense of change. Olathe is not static, but ever-adapting and flexible while also retaining the values and traditions that contribute to a healthy community and environment.
- Inclusive – Actively promoting a safe, fair, and cohesive local culture.
- Environmentally sensitive – Protecting natural resources and systems.
- Well-planned – Featuring a quality built environment and valued natural areas.
- Well-connected – Enabling efficient transportation and communication linking people to jobs, schools, health and other services.
- Economical – With a thriving and diverse local economy.
- Well-served – With public, private, community and voluntary services that are appropriate to people’s needs and accessible to all.
A Vision and Guiding Principles for each plan component have arisen from direction given by the public, stakeholders, steering committee, planning team, and throughout City policy documents.
Based on comments received, the vision has been outlined by defining guiding principles, community benefits, and implementation opportunities. Each of these is described in the following pages.