Comprehensive Plans

Comprehensive planning draws a “road map” for successful, sustainable communities, so it’s essential that plans mirror civic goals, needs, and objectives. Whether addressing mandated plan requirements like Washington's GMA or more proactive strategies, Studio Cascade is a leader in developing comprehensive plans that:

  • Enhance civic function and aesthetics 
  • Expand economic potential 
  • Increase the vitality and safety of neighborhoods 
  • Foster sustainability 
  • Protect property values 
  • Protect environmental resources

 Here's a few of our favorite efforts, led for some of our favorite clients.


ellensburg WA

Divided on big-box retail, the City of Ellensburg hired SCI to update its comprehensive plan and develop new policies to address the issue.

An aggressive outreach process - including interviews, an advisory committee, an all-inclusive website, event polling, mail-outs, display ads and circulars, workshops and meetings - helped the process propose and analyze a set of five growth strategies. 

A combined strategy based on common-ground ideals of downtown vitality and city walkability was ultimately selected, and a draft impact fee analysis was prepared to help sustain the new policies.

Independent polling indicated more than 14% of voting residents participated, with a full 57% of the populace considering themselves either "very" or "somewhat" familiar with the planning process.

The Ellensburg plan received a 2006 APA/PAW Award for outstanding public involvement in planning. 


southern Pines NC

Southern Pines had last adopted a long-range plan in 1988 – a plan focused almost exclusively on transportation and land use. In 2008, and in the wake of controversy for which the existing plan provided little guidance, the Town Council voted to commission a major long-range plan update.

Following a national search, Southern Pines hired Studio Cascade to rewrite its plan, and mindful of recent controversy, to involve the public in the process every step of the way.

Working with the Town and with a council-appointed advisory committee, SCI led a process including numerous cross-town meetings, a downtown plan headquarters, mailed and on-line questionnaires, a project website, citizen photo surveys and much more.

The resulting plan gave clear direction on the plan's initial focus, as well as on a wide range of issues found critical to community values. Due in part to SCI's outreach efforts, the plan was adopted by unanimous vote of both Planning Commission and Town Council. 


monroe WA

In 2013, the City of Monroe commisisoned Studio Cascade to lead major updates to its comprehensive plan, along with a new parks plan, transportation plan and economic development strategy. 

At stake were City policies to address expected growth surges in the wake of the great recession, setting the stage for Monroe's future role among Seattle-metro communities - as live-work city, a bedroom community, or retail hub, for instance. 

A set of differing growth strategies were prepared and vetted through an extensive outreach process including a downtown "storefront studio", an interactive Mind Mixer™ website, an advisory committee and much more. Ultimately, a hybrid strategy was developed to "maximize" Monroe's most valued qualities - a strategy the adopted plan expressed in policy and in an innovative, diagrammatic form. 

The Monroe plan received top honors for small cities planning at the 2016 Washington APA/PAW Awards.