How to Use the Community Action Guides
Overall, the Community Action Guides are a framework for communities to create the future character and independent identity, as identified in the workshops as community values and aspirations, through completion of community actions. As stated at the community workshops, the Community Action Guides replace any 2007/2014 Community Plans, with a greater focus on community self-reliance, grass-roots action, and implementation. Goals, policies, land use, and infrastructure decisions are addressed in the Policy Plan of the Countywide Plan. The County Development Code will still regulate zoning and land development.
The Community Action Guide is strategic in nature and provides clear Focus Statements and Action Statements identified by the community that led to creation of an Action Plan that can be implemented at the grass-roots level within each community. Some actions may require assistance by a County department, but the community will take the lead in moving the action forward, identifying funding or scheduling meetings or requesting information from specific County departments.
A detailed implementation plan and training module will be set up by the County to guide communities in identifying Champions, setting up Action Teams, contacting County departments and answering questions. In addition, the County’s role will be clarified. This information will be included on the website for easy reference by communities.
The Community Action Guide Is Not Set in Stone
This is your Community Action Guide to be used to guide community actions and is not “set in stone”. Champions, Action Leaders and Action Teams should be identified by your community or created by organizations, community groups or community members who volunteer to champion, lead or participate. The Action Plan Matrix includes a general set of tasks that can be modified by the Champions, Action Leaders and/or Action Teams to best fit your community needs at the time of action implementation. The Action Teams could include people who were not at the workshops and may have additional input to enhance the Action Statement or action steps. The community should feel free to make changes and find alternatives for completing actions. You may decide to expand the action, modify it or only select to complete a few tasks of the Action Plan.
Community Action Guide Organization
The Community Action Guide is organized into three main sections, the community’s Values, community’s Aspirations, and Action Plans. An appendix has a Community Profile with a summary of the social, cultural, economic and historic dimensions of the community as well as the communities input on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Values – Those shared assets, principles, standards, mores and in the judgement of the community, what is important to the lives of its residents and businesses. (Identified in Workshop #1 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #2)
Aspirations – A written narrative illustrating the community’s desired look and function once the Community Action Guide is fully implemented. This is a long-term view of 10 to 20 years. It is written as if the community’s desired changes have already occurred. (Identified in Workshop #1 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #2)
Action Plans – The Action Plans consist of:
• A Focus Statement, which provides general direction towards realizing the Community’s aspirations and help organize the plan. (Identified in Workshop #2 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #3)
• An Action Statement, which is a measurable statement providing critical information on the program, initiative or project to complete. (Identified in Workshop #2 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #3)
• Action Plan Matrix, which provides a general set of action steps necessary to implement the Action Statement, identifies those that would initiate and champion the action statement, a general timeline for implementation and identified resources for additional assistance. (Created to support and guide the Community’s identified Focus and Action Statements)
The Focus Statements and Action Statements of the guide are not prioritized. It is up to the community to select the three to five priority Action Statements that they wish to begin implementing. The related Action Plans for each Action Statement provide guidance on the actions and timeline that may be necessary to implement the Action Statement. The Champions and Action Teams should review the Action Statement, Benchmark, and Action Steps. They may even hold a public meeting to get additional input before starting implementation of a specific Action Statement. Changes may be made as new input is received.
The Community Action Guide as a Living Document
The Community Action Guide and the Countywide Plan are designed to be web-based and therefore will be easily updated. The Community Action Guide is intended to be championed and implemented by the Community. The Focus Statements and Action Statements within the guide were created through public engagement workshops by community participants.
The guide is meant as a way to organize activities and provide overall direction to move the Community forward. The guide should never be considered to be written in stone, but should be malleable as the needs of the community continue to change. Focus Statements and Action Statements should be changed and amended as Action Statements are completed or new priorities take their place.
The Community should consider reviewing its guide annually to celebrate what was accomplished and make changes to the guide, as necessary, to ensure it is a relevant work plan. Communities should report back to the County as they complete actions to ensure their online guide is updated with success stories included on their website and to ensure their Action Plans are updated reflecting completed actions. As communities complete their Action Plans, the County will determine when to revisit the community to expand or modify their Action Plans.
How to Implement the Community Action Guide and the Community Development Toolkit
The Community Action Guide provides a general organization of the action steps necessary to implement each Action Statement. The Community may want to meet to identify the top three to five priority Action Statements to work on first. Some of these may be those actions that the community believes could be completed quickly and easily. Completion of one Action Statement will provide the community and local groups with the motivation to move forward with another Action Statement.
Once an Action Statement is selected for implementation, the community identifies a Champion for that Action Statement to initiate activities, identify those responsible for carrying out action steps, identify and secure resources that will be required, and develop a timeline. The champion is not responsible for completing the action, but serves to facilitate and guide the Action Team. While suggested action steps are included in the guide, each community should develop more specific assignments based upon available community resources such as volunteers (e.g., individuals, businesses, property owners, etc.), community groups (e.g., chamber of commerce, non-profits, etc.) and organizations (e.g., scouts, community service districts, churches, schools, etc.). This step of planning for implementation is an important first step necessary to help ensure successful implementation.
Potential resources are identified for each Action Statement. These may be guides on implementation, case studies of how other communities have implemented similar projects, sources of potential external funding, and organizations and agencies that can provide guidance and advice. In addition, San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department is creating an online Community Development Toolkit to be located at www.countywideplan.com to expand the action topics and guidance on implementation as well as ideas for future amendments or additions to the Community Action Guide.
A more detailed Implementation Plan will also be included on the website. The Implementation Plan will include information about how to inform the County about changes to your Community Action Guide. In addition, we will want to know when you start working on an Action Statement and when you complete it. It is important for the community to celebrate completion of each action.