PlanOlathe is designed to be used by anyone interested in the future of Olathe. The Plan establishes a community-based vision, guiding principles, policies and an implementation process. As an adopted City document, decision-makers will refer to PlanOlathe as an advisory guide when evaluating future development proposals.
Planning Basis and Relationship to Other Plans
As the City’s official Comprehensive Plan, PlanOlathe addresses elements defined by Kansas State Law, including land use, density, transportation, public infrastructure and facilities, and natural resources (Kansas State 12-747). However, the Plan does much more than fulfill statutory requirements. It represents the community vision for how Olathe should grow and develop, today and in the future. The Plan provides the basic guidance for land use decisions, promoting community development in ways that foster prosperity of existing and future residents. The recommendations of the Plan begin with the Vision. The Vision sets forth broad principles to guide the future of the City’s development and serves as the foundation for more specific recommendations. Based on these guiding principles, detailed policies and action items outline how the vision can be realized.
PlanOlathe works in conjunction with several other documents. As part of the process to update Olathe’s Comprehensive Plan, an inventory was completed of over 50 existing and in-progress plans and policies adopted since 1986. Documents ranged from land use plans at the sub-area, corridor and neighborhood level; transportation plans; utilities plans; and the overall strategic plan for City services. These adopted plans and policies provided a core level of information that has shaped PlanOlathe.
A major goal in the preparation of PlanOlathe was to simplify land use planning by reducing the number of policy layers associated with area plans, corridor plans, neighborhood plans, and other documents, while preserving the quality analysis and recommendations that are found in those documents. Toward that end, the land use recommendations within previously adopted land use plans have been integrated into PlanOlathe and have helped to shape the principles, policies, and land use designations found in the Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the document that will guide the Planning Commission and City Council when evaluating development applications, rezonings, and other land use policy decisions. Previously adopted design guidelines and overlay districts associated with existing area and corridor plans will remain in effect and continue to be applied. As PlanOlathe is implemented, design guidelines and overlay districts will be reviewed and adapted to function within the framework of the Comprehensive Plan. Detailed research and analysis within existing area and corridor plans will be retained as supplementary information and an ongoing resource in the appendices of this plan (see Chapter 7 – Reference).
PlanOlathe is intended to work in concert with the City’s various functional master plans, including the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan, service and utility master plans, and the City’s overall strategic plan for City services. Implementation of PlanOlathe will require coordination and alignment between PlanOlathe and these other plans to ensure a common vision and consistent policy recommendations.
PlanOlathe is also connected to regional and local planning efforts. Continued coordination with other regional planning efforts is important, because the scope of many major issues requires regional solutions, and because plans, initiatives, and trends in the wider region ultimately affect those who live and work in Olathe. Regional cooperation includes the development and refinement of regional transportation, infrastructure, schools, housing, economic, open space, and natural resource planning initiatives. Collaboration with Johnson County, adjacent municipalities, and other jurisdictions is necessary to provide coordinated and sustainable development and resolve land use issues of mutual concern. Only through collaboration can the desired future be achieved for Olathe and the region.
A Living Plan
Over the course of eighteen months, extensive public participation and input have shaped the recommendations of PlanOlathe to create a compelling vision for the future of Olathe. In order for the Plan to be an effective policy tool, and a useful and relevant resource for its users, it must continue to evolve and respond to the community’s values and needs over time. PlanOlathe is a “living plan,” both in how it is used and how it is maintained and updated.
PlanOlathe is intended to be an interactive and user-friendly plan that sets the standard for public usability and accessibility. While graphics, maps, and diagrams in the Plan document help to illustrate the concepts embodied by the Plan, the Plan website, www.planolathe.com, enables the user to fully explore the Plan in a way that is visually interesting and specific to the user’s interest. PlanOlathe is useful in different ways to different groups. Residents may be interested in the location of parks, schools, or community facilities. Business and property owners may be interested in land use recommendations or development policies for their
property. Topics such as the fiscal health of the City are a priority for policy makers. Through the Plan website, users of the Plan can explore detailed information on Plan concepts, City services, demographic and development information, or neighborhood activity, all in the context of the vision and recommendations contained in the Plan.
As described in Chapter 3, PlanOlathe is built on stable and enduring community values. As a result, guiding principles and policies in the PlanOlathe are general and timeless in nature and are expected to endure. Still, planning is an ongoing process, and principles and policies must periodically be reassessed, revised, and updated. Annual review of the Comprehensive Plan is required by law (Kansas statute 12-747). This annual review process presents an opportunity to ensure that the Plan is functioning as a useful policy tool and is being effectively implemented. As community priorities evolve and change, more thorough review and updates will be necessary to ensure that PlanOlathe is heading in the right direction.
The Plan is organized into seven chapters:
Chapter 1. Community: This introductory chapter describes the purpose of PlanOlathe, how the public was involved in its preparation, and how the plan is used.
Chapter 2. Quality of Life: This chapter describes the existing quality of life the community experiences, and how quality may change if PlanOlathe is implemented. The relationship between quality of life and factors such as cost of living, economic sustainability, and the fiscal constraints of the City is also explored.
Chapter 3. Vision: This chapter provides a clear picture of what the community wants based on community values, and presents an ambitious vision and broad planning principles.
Chapter 4. Framework: This chapter elaborates on the key land use themes embodied by PlanOlathe and defines the Future Land Use Plan. The specific characteristics of the neighborhoods, centers, corridors, and greenways identified in the Future Land Use Plan are also outlined here.
Chapter 5. Guidance: This chapter elaborates on the guiding principles and defines detailed policies for each principle to ensure this Vision is realized.
Chapter 6. Implementation: This chapter translates the Vision into a reality by discussing the process, responsibilities, and strategies necessary for successful implementation of PlanOlathe.
Chapter 7. Reference: This chapter contains reference documents used throughout the planning process, such as background data and analysis from other plans, the build-out study, economic analysis, and land demand forecasts.