Auburn 2040: The Road Ahead

 In Auburn 2040, Building, Business Development, City Planning, Community, Planning and Development

By Amy Schweitzer, Administrator, Department of Building, Planning, and Development

The City of Auburn, through its Plan Commission and Department of Building, Planning and Development, formally launched Auburn 2040: The Road Ahead in late February 2020. This is the City’s effort to develop a new comprehensive plan for the community.

The City’s first formal comprehensive plan was adopted in 1965 and includes the newly completed Interstate 69 a mile west of town. It is obvious that planning occurred prior to the 1965 plan, though, when you consider the land use patterns, street connectivity and central business district surrounded by neighborhoods in Auburn. Additionally, Auburn’s street and alley patterns, locations for neighborhood schools (mostly gone now), parks and older industrial job centers (Auburn Automobile Co.) all resulted from early plans for the community.

This quick snapshot of Auburn’s history provides some insight into what a comprehensive plan provides a community. In its most basic sense, it is a roadmap for the future. The process of authoring the comprehensive plan creates a vision that identifies what we want Auburn to look like physically 20+ years from now. When completed and adopted, the plan will outline goals and objectives to help Auburn work towards that vision.  A comprehensive plan includes more than a vision, goals and objectives, though, and we’ll share more of that information in subsequent blogs and/or social media posts.

We believe if a comprehensive plan is to be successful, it must reflect the vision of the community. It should not be the Plan Commission’s vision, the Mayor’s vision or the city planner’s vision for Auburn. It needs to be the vision of the community as a whole—and that is why community participation is such a critical component of Auburn 2040.

As you may have heard, we are forming a 12-15 member Steering Committee to be the sounding board for the comprehensive plan process over the next year. Our office has been overwhelmed with the interest generated by the request for Steering Committee nominations. The goal is for the Steering Committee to be a representative cross-section of the community.

However you choose to be involved, there will be many opportunities to participate in Auburn 2040. The public engagement/community participation window will be open from May through November 2020, with activities such as stakeholder interviews, public workshops, an open house-type event, a community survey (available in various formats) and planning pop-ups at various local events where we will set up and collect input from community members.

There are many other important questions about Auburn 2040 that we will be addressing as we embark on this process: How will Auburn 2040 be used? Why is it important to have a current comprehensive plan? And what is considered current?

If you want to stay informed about Auburn 2040: The Road Ahead, visit and follow updates. We’ll also post on the City’s social media pages and mobile app in advance of participation opportunities or other important comprehensive plan events. And don’t forget about checking the local newspaper and radio station.

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