The Sisters 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update team is out of the gate and running — conducting background studies, doing community engagement, and preparing for a December open house.

Many community members have asked why the Comprehensive Plan Update is being undertaken before the Sisters Country Vision is fully implemented. How is the Comprehensive Plan different from the Vision?

The Vision and Comp Plan Update have a lot of crossover but have different geographic focuses, breadth of scope, and implementation strategies.

• Geographically, the Vision addresses both Sisters and Sisters Country, while the Comprehensive Plan focuses on just the area within the Sisters Urban Growth Boundary.

• Both documents cover a wide range of topics, but the State requires the Comprehensive Plan to implement the Oregon Statewide Planning Goals, which primarily address land use and include topics such as Transportation, Housing, Economy, Recreational Needs, and Public Facilities.

• The Vision topics go beyond land use, such as developing the local workforce, improved lighting downtown, and conducting a survey on medical service, but many have land-use implications. For example, developing Sisters’ arts and cultural amenities are viewed by many as critical to the future of the local economy. The Vision’s Prosperous 3 Strategy recommends forming the Sisters Makers District, which will necessitate Development Code changes to implement.

• The Vision was completely community-driven and is now in the implementation stage through community-led action by the Vision Implementation Team.

• The Comprehensive Plan Update incorporates extensive community input but is also guided by State of Oregon regulations that require compliance with the land-use goals, accommodation for future growth, and requires acknowledgment of the document by the State.

The Vision will serve an important role in developing the Comprehensive Plan Update. For instance, several policies have been identified by the Sisters Country Vision Assessment and will be brought forward into the Comprehensive Plan so that there is coverage in both documents. The Vision will help inform the Comprehensive Plan and the goals and policies that it will contain; the updated Comprehensive Plan will then inform local development-code requirements for the future shape and form of our community.

On November 16, The Vision Implementation Team (VIT) met to talk about the Vision’s progress and discussed how the VIT could help support the comprehensive planning process. A number of the VIT members have volunteered to serve on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Comprehensive Plan.

City Manager Cory Misley shares, “We almost didn’t move forward with the Comprehensive Plan Update this year due to COVID-19 and a grant reduction from the State, among other challenges. But we really felt the timeliness of doing this on the heels of the Vision and proactively managing growth with broad community input was just so important.”

You, too, can weigh in on the Comprehensive Plan Update at the first Online Open House event, occurring from December 7 – 21, 2020! This open house won’t look like the typical City Hall gathering event due to COVID-19 restrictions. It will take place as an interactive online forum available through the Sisters2040.com website.

This will be an opportunity for the community to learn about the Comprehensive Plan Update process and share their feedback on various topics like housing, economy, design, transportation, wildfire, and community engagement.

Ideally, the open house will reach more members of the Sisters community, those the Comprehensive Plan Team hasn’t had a chance to hear from yet. The more people who engage with the open house, the better the Comprehensive Plan Update will represent the key values of Sisters as it enters the policy development stage this winter. Please get involved!

You can learn more about the Comprehensive Plan Update on the Sisters2040 website: www.sisters2040.com.

To learn more about the Sisters Country Vision and see current progress, visit www.sistersvision.org.