Answers to Common Questions

1. What is a Comprehensive Plan?

A Comprehensive Plan is a blueprint for the future based on the values and aspirations of our community. It addresses topics such as development, housing, sustainability, economic development, and transportation. It gives a universal view of the whole city, is a tool to prepare for change, and acts as both a business plan and guidebook for decision-makers.

2. Why does Portsmouth need to update its Comprehensive Plan?

The state of Virginia requires that all cities and counties have a Comprehensive Plan. But more importantly, having a plan ensures that the City staff, elected officials, and citizens have a shared vision and are working toward the same goals. The last plan was completed over 10 years ago, so it’s time to see what has been working and what needs to be changed.

3. Why should I care?

As a citizen, business owner, or property owner in Portsmouth, you have made an important choice to invest in this community. If you like the community just the way it is, you should care because change is always happening. If you want aspects of the community improved, you should also care enough to help identify what needs to be addressed. This is your best chance to have a direct say in what Portsmouth should look like in the future!

4. Who will lead the planning process?

The planning process is being led by you, the citizen. This Plan is a reflection of what the community wants, not what City employees or consultants want. City staff will work closely with a planning consulting team to organize and run the public process, conduct technical research, and draft the recommendations for the Plan update based on what we hear YOU say.

5. Is there a role for residents to get involved?

Yes! We are committed to an open and inclusive process. Anybody that lives in Portsmouth will be able to participate and contribute their ideas and insight. There is also a citizen outreach team who is working to ensure that everyone in the city of Portsmouth knows it is a choice to get involved and have their voice heard. Robust participation will ensure the authentic voice of the community is represented in the Plan.

6. Do I have to be an expert to contribute ideas?

You are already an expert if you live or work in Portsmouth. Who knows the community better than someone who lives or works here?

7. What will happen at the Focus on the Future Workshop?

You will work together in small groups to identify, using a map, areas of strength, and areas of opportunity within the community. Each group will then brainstorm about why those areas are identified as such. The event will also include a brief presentation overview of the planning process and timeline.