Appendix A: Planning Process

Chapter Appendices

Planning a Sustainable Region

OneSTL is an initiative of East-West Gateway, along with ten other Consortium Partners and 23 other organizations. It is the result of a three year planning initiative to create a regional plan for sustainable development for the bi-state St. Louis region. The plan emphasizes regional collaboration among a wide range of institutions, agencies and non-profit organizations as the means to building a sustainable St. Louis.

To ensure that the plan addresses the needs and interests of local communities, the planning approach was based on a process of information and collaboration cycles from the regional scale to the sub-regional scale and back again. This back-and-forth feedback both informed the regional level with input from smaller areas and kept sub-regional areas informed of overall regional goals.

To develop a regional framework for sustainable development, East-West Gateway assembled a series of advisory committees. Comprised of experts from area organizations, these committees provided input, technical expertise, and key decisions on plan process and content. The committees include:

  • The Steering Committee was comprised of leaders from across the region, who met quarterly to guide the process.
  • The Outcome Management Committee met quarterly to plan for implementation and develop methods for evaluating success of the plan.
  • The Public Engagement Committee met quarterly to plan and review public engagement activities and to participate as facilitators in public meetings.
  • The Technical Planning Committee was comprised of specialists from various disciplines and met quarterly as a large group and monthly in one of five subcommittees. The subcommittees researched best practices, developed reports, and organized their findings on the St. Louis Regional Data Exchange and Sustainable Solutions Toolkit.
  • The Municipal Task Force was comprised of city staff from 13 communities. The Municipal Task force provided input on the plan from the perspective of government administrators, who will be responsible for implementing the plan locally.

The Steering Committee, with input from citizens and public officials, identified eleven (11) Community Planning Areas (CPAs). CPAs are sub-regional areas that share certain characteristics related to transportation, housing, jobs, and the environment. By necessity, a CPA may overlap jurisdictional boundaries of municipalities within a county. Most CPAs included more than one municipality to facilitate and encourage collaboration.

The planning process was informed by a robust public engagement process to ensure that planners and leadership hear what the public wants. The Steering Committee and a Technical Planning Committee reviewed information collected through regular meetings including diverse economic, racial, geographic and sector representation as well as an online portal to support collaborative planning and knowledge sharing.

Plan Administration & Funding

OneSTL is a project of East-West Gateway, along with Consortium Partners including the City of St. Louis (the traditional principal city), St. Louis County (the jurisdiction with the largest population) and seven other regional agencies and non-governmental organizations.

  • City of St. Louis
  • St. Louis County
  • FOCUS St. Louis
  • Metro
  • Trailnet
  • Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT)
  • Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council
  • HeartLands Conservancy (formerly Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development)
  • Great Rivers Greenway District (GRG)
  • Applied Research Collaborative (ARC)

EWG received a grant of $4.68 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, the 11 consortium partners provided matching funds of $3.52 million in support of this three-year planning effort.

Public Engagement

Transparency and engagement with residents and stakeholders is one of the hallmarks of a successful planning process. Over the three-year duration of this planning initiative, East-West Gateway, its Consortium Partners, and the consultant team conducted a variety of public outreach and engagement initiatives, including three rounds of the Community Planning Area public meetings, five workshops for local government officials, and five Pilot Studies. The purpose of these activities were to collect information and ideas from local residents, city staff, and elected officials, obtain feedback on elements on the Plan, and test Plan recommendations in specific communities. A summary of the Public Engagement effort is presented on the following pages.

Community Input Summary

The Themes of OneSTL were developed through a multi-tiered public engagement process. Over the course of three years, input was gathered through telephone surveys, CPA meetings, an on-line survey, and open houses. Many people contributed during the process and submitted thousands of comments and ideas. Among the comments and ideas, several recurring issues emerged. These recurring issues became the OneSTL Themes. Below are general conclusions drawn from the conversations that occurred during the community engagement events. General conclusions:

  • Residents agree with the equity and environmental aspects of sustainability, but unless their families are financially stable, the economics part will always take precedence.
  • Neighborhood safety and good schools were repeatedly stated as being the most basic component necessary for defining a sustainable community.
  • Several communities in the region lack access to basic services near where they live, such as grocery stores, banks, and medical offices.
  • The region’s residents show a strong preference for single family housing. The tolerance for single family housing density varies depending on location.
  • There is a general hesitancy to support multi-family housing based on perceptions of crime and a history of poor maintenance and management of apartment buildings at some locations.
  • Residents who live close to open spaces and natural amenities see great value in preserving them.
  • Residents support over-arching themes of clean air and clean water.
  • Flooding is a pervasive issue and concern across the region.
  • Residents accept the regional fragmentation of our political system, but they would just like to see government entities work together more.
  • Residents are in favor of making streets safer for bicycles and pedestrians, but more from the aspect of improving their neighborhoods than creating a truly comprehensive multi-modal transportation network.
  • Residents of the region are supportive of public transit even though most people do not use it. More people support expanding the light rail system over the bus network.
  • There is concern from some residents about the expense of sustainable practices and the burden additional regulations may put on property owners. Residents state that sustainable practices need to be economically feasible and voluntary.

The following sections summarize the feedback obtained from the specific activities.

Telephone Surveys

Two telephone surveys were conducted to gather baseline data on regional attitudes regarding sustainability. The first survey was conducted prior to commencement of public engagement. The second was conducted near the end of the process. The first survey was conducted in October 2011. General lessons learned from the survey were that most people have a different perspective on what sustainability means; however, the economy emerged as a recurring theme. The word bubble on the following page indicates how regional citizens replied when asked what sustainability means to them. Employment, economy, and jobs were among the most frequently mentioned topics, as was “don’t know.” In a summary of the survey, it was concluded that economic competitiveness is the most important factor affecting the long-term health of the region.

In the first survey, respondents were also asked the relative importance of five issue areas: housing, transportation, public services, environment, and economic competitiveness. Within each issue area, the following priorities emerged:

  • Access to homeownership options throughout the region for residents of all income levels;
  • A public transportation system—including MetroLink and public buses—that is affordable to all income levels throughout the entire St. Louis region;
  • Access to high quality public education for kindergarten through 12th grade for all residents of the region;
  • Measures and policies in place in the region to encourage clean air and clean rivers, streams and lakes; and
  • Employment opportunities across different job sectors throughout the entire region.

The second telephone survey was conducted in October 2013. The survey was intended to determine if regional priorities changed since the first survey and to test the relevancy of the OneSTL Themes. The conclusions drawn from the survey indicated that regional priorities remain unchanged. Survey respondents also considered the goal themes to be very important to the region, suggesting that the majority of residents support the plan’s broad themes and direction.

Community Planning Area Meetings

The CPA meetings presented the best opportunity to discuss with residents the future of their communities and the region. The comments, opinions, and desires expressed by the community during these events were as varied as the people who live in the region. During the process of creating OneSTL, the U.S. economy was still in a slump. So many conversations were about creating jobs and improving the conditions in neighborhoods that were hit especially hard during the recession. Residents also discussed the need to be able to get to jobs with an efficient transportation network and to have access to goods and services, such as grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and banks in every community. But, the foundation for any community to be stable and sustainable is a sense of safety and access to quality schools.

Whether conditions were good or needed improvement in each community, residents emphasized that they liked where they live. They chose their homes based on the positive aspects of the communities, and that the result of regional planning efforts should help them improve conditions while maintaining the character, individuality, and distinctiveness of their neighborhoods and communities. The statements below summarize the priorities discussed about communities within the CPAs.

City of St. Louis:

  • Walkable, bikeable, transit-served smart neighborhoods.
  • Build public/private partners and increase funding (for arts, culture, and innovation).
  • Promote youth development, education, engagement, and empowerment.
  • Increase access to local food and nutritional information.
  • Facilitate affordable, efficient transportation of people and goods.
  • Increase high school graduation rate in public schools.
  • Support and develop the local economy.

Ferguson and Environs (St. Louis County):

  • Neighborhoods where goods, services, and housing are available, accessible, and affordable for everyone.
  • Neighborhoods where residents can safely walk or bike to school, to the store, or to their friend’s house.
  • Neighborhoods that are identifiable, clean, and well-kept, and where neighbors are engaged and informed.
  • Neighborhoods where you do not have to worry about crime, flooded streets, air pollution, or unclean water.

Riverbend (Madison County):

  • A community connected through all modes of transportation, methods of communication, and manners of cooperation.
  • A community that values and preserves its heritage and natural resources.
  • A community with a wide range of choices including housing, shopping, recreating, working, and travelling.
  • A community free from crime, flooded streets, air pollution, and unclean water.

Northeast St. Louis County:

  • A community with housing, employment, shopping, and recreation options to meet the needs of a diverse population.
  • A community free from crime, flooded streets, air pollution, and unclean water.
  • A community that has transportation options and is connected both locally and to the region.
  • A community that can withstand economic turns and maintain what residents value.
  • A community where everyone accepts responsibility for improving or maintaining the quality of the area.
  • A community committed to cooperation, communication, and engagement.

Mid-Metro 5 (St. Louis County):

  • A community that fully utilizes its location and the transportation opportunities it contains.
  • A community with a wide range of choices including housing, shopping, recreating, and employment.
  • A community that maintains its schools, property values, and sense of identity.
  • A community free from crime, flooded streets, air pollution, and unclean water.

Wentzville-Lake St. Louis-O’Fallon (St. Charles County):

  • A community that fully utilizes its location and offers a full range of transportation opportunities.
  • A community with a wide range of choices including housing, shopping, recreating, and employment.
  • A community where officials work together to solve problems, improve services, and attract businesses.
  • A community free from crime, flooded streets, air pollution, and unclean water.

Lemay (St. Louis County):

  • A community that is clean, safe, and walkable.
  • A community with options for employment, access to services, and opportunities for business growth.
  • A community that is maintained including houses, lawns, businesses, and infrastructure.
  • A community that has housing, services, and transportation available to all of its residents.
  • A community does not have to worry about environmental issues such as flooding, pollution, litter/trash, and odors.
  • A community that preserves its sense of identity and sense of community.

Belleville-Swansea (St. Clair County):

  • A community with a wide range of options for housing, employment, shopping, and services.
  • A community connected through a safe and robust transportation network that can be used by anyone walking, biking, driving, or taking transit.
  • A community where residents, businesses, and government all take an active role in community improvement through communication, involvement, and responsibility.
  • A community that values its heritage and history and works to maintain its existing neighborhoods.

Pevely-Herculaneum-Festus-Crystal City (Jefferson County):

  • A community where residents are educated, skilled, and engaged.
  • A community that balances the preservation, access, and utilization of its natural resources.
  • A community with a complete, maintained, and safe transportation network.
  • A community that values and preserves its history and heritage.
  • A community that successfully manages its stormwater.
  • A community with a strong, industrial-based economy.

Tri-City (Madison County):

  • A community that is connected to its neighbors and the region through a transportation system accessible by everyone.
  • A community with a wide range of choices including housing, shopping, recreating, and employment.
  • A community that utilizes existing assets and works together to create new ones.
  • A community with access to abundant and clean parks and natural areas.
  • A community without environmental hazards such as flooding, water pollution, and air pollution.

On-Line Surveys

An on-line survey was administered as a short version of the 2011 telephone survey. It was used primarily to compare responses collected from residents who live in CPAs to the random-sampled, region-wide responses. Responses to the on-line survey generally reflected the responses to the telephone survey with the exception that more people associated the environment as the primary definition of sustainability. The bullets below summarize the themes that emerged:

  • Transportation: An expansion of public transportation to a wider area was the most commonly cited transportation goal.
  • Diversity of housing stock and ownership opportunities were valued in each CPA. The most common responses to thequestion regarding housing priorities in each CPA was either "having enough diverse housing types" or "having enough homeownership options for all income levels."
  • Regarding public services, education was the overwhelming priority across CPAs. Healthcare was a strong but distant second.
  • There was considerable diversity of opinion about top environmental priorities (see Table 6). In most CPAs, access to open space and parks was the top priority, followed by recycling. Policies to address climate change were supported by a substantial minority in the City of St. Louis, and Mid-Metro 5. Clean air and clean streams were frequently mentioned priorities in Wentzville-Lake St. Louis-O'Fallon.
  • Employment opportunities were overwhelmingly the top priority with respect to economic priorities.
  • Economic competitiveness was overwhelmingly seen as the top goal for the region in every CPA except for Riverbend, where competitiveness tied with environment.
  • When asked to define sustainability, the greatest number of responses across all CPAs (219) mentioned environmental concerns. The economy was a strong second, with 131 responses.

Open Houses

A series of ten open houses were held between August 20 and September 25. The open houses were intended to serve three purposes. The first was to display the plan to residents of the region and gather feedback on the plan. Open house attendees were invited to give comments on the plan through a paper survey, comment boards, and voting stickers. Several strategies and objectives were altered to account for suggestions recorded during the open houses. Comments from the open houses will be used in 2014 to identify new strategies and projects, prioritize indicators, and develop a communications plan.

The second purpose of the open houses was to show CPA residents how they influenced the plan. Interestingly, more new people attended the open houses, and fewer attendees from the earlier meetings attended.

The third meeting purpose was to display and explain the web-based resources. Committee members used feedback from open house attendees to design a more functional website.

Community Meeting Details

Community Planning Areas (CPAS)

East-West Gateway and the OneSTL Steering Committee, with input from citizens and public officials, identified 11 Community Planning Areas (CPAs), The CPAs are: 1) Belleville/Swansea, IL; 2) Ferguson & Environs, MO (Berkeley, Calverton Park, Cool Valley, Country Club Hills, Dellwood, Ferguson, Flordell Hills, Jennings, and Kinloch); 3) Jeffco, MO (Crystal City, Festus, Herculaneum, and Pevely); 4) Lemay, MO; 5) Mid-Metro Five, MO (Brentwood, Clayton, Maplewood, Richmond Heights, and Shrewsbury); 6) Northeast County, MO (Bellefontaine Neighbors, Glasgow Village, Riverview, and Spanish Lake); 7) O’Fallon – Wentzville – Lake St. Louis, MO; 8) Riverbend, IL (Alton, East Alton, Bethalto; Godfrey; and Wood River); 9) Tri-City, IL (Granite City, Madison, and Venice); 10) East Riverfront, IL (East St. Louis, Brooklyn, Sauget, Cahokia, and Fairmont City); and 11) City of St. Louis, MO.

East-West Gateway, working with FOCUS St. Louis, conducted three rounds of public meetings in each of the 11 CPA areas. These meetings were attended by over 1,000 St. Louis area residents, who provided input and feedback on the issues facing the region, their local communities, and what sustainable communities mean to them. Despite the geographical diversity of the CPA areas, public feedback in each CPA revolved around common issues. These include the need to adapt to changing economies; redevelopment of industrial and brownfield sites; providing job training and attracting quality jobs; increasing housing diversity, choice, and affordability; increasing safety; reducing the impacts of flooding; ensuring clean water; and preserving the unique characteristics of individual communities. This feedback was instrumental in shaping the development of OneSTL.

Community Planning Area Meetings Round 1

  • Ferguson and Environs– March 14,2012
  • Mid-Metro 5 – March 15, 2012
  • Northeast St. Louis County – March 20, 2012
  • Riverbend – March 27, 2012
  • Wentzville-Lake St. Louis-O’Fallon – March 29, 2012
  • Tri-City – April 3, 2012
  • Lemay – April 4, 2012
  • Belleville-Swansea – April 11, 2012
  • Pevely-Herculaneum-Festus-Crystal City – April 12, 2012
  • East Riverfront – April 18, 2012
  • City of St. Louis – May 8, 9 & 10, 2012

Community Planning Area Meetings Round 2

  • Ferguson and Environs – June 27, 2012
  • Northeast St. Louis County – July 11, 2012
  • Mid-Metro 5 – July 17, 2012
  • Riverbend – July 24, 2012
  • Wentzville-Lake St. Louis-O’Fallon – July 31, 2012,
  • Tri-City – August 9, 2012
  • Belleville-Swansea – August 14, 2012
  • Lemay – August 22, 2012
  • Pevely-Herculaneum-Festus-Crystal City – August 28, 2012

Community Planning Area Meetings Round 3

  • Ferguson and Environs – November 8, 2012
  • Riverbend – November 22, 2013
  • Northeast St. Louis County – January 10, 2013
  • Mid-Metro 5 – January 16, 2013
  • Wentzville-Lake St. Louis-O’Fallon – January 22, 2013
  • Lemay – February 7, 2013
  • Belleville-Swansea – February 12, 2013
  • Pevely-Herculaneum-Festus-Crystal City – February 19, 2013
  • Tri-City – March 9, 2013

Local Government Workshops

On the weeks of April 8, April 15, and April 22, 2013, five individual workshops were conducted in five communities throughout East-West Gateway’s eight-county planning area. These communities were: 1) Arnold (Jefferson County, MO); 2) St. Peters (St. Charles County, MO); 3) Maryland Heights (St. Louis County, MO); 4) Collinsville (Madison County, IL); and 5) O’Fallon (St. Clair County, IL). The workshops were attended by local government staff members and elected officials. The purpose of these workshops was to: 1) test the effectiveness and resonance of the regional vision and goals; 2) test the draft outline of the Regional Sustainability Framework as it may apply to local communities; and 3) catalogue information on existing and/or ongoing sustainability initiatives in the St. Louis region.

At each Local Government Workshop, there was a presentation by East-West Gateway, which provided a summary of the planning process to date and outlined the major components of OneSTL, including the regional sustainability framework, regional vision, goals and objectives, and Sustainable Solutions Toolkit. Following this presentation, East-West Gateway conducted a facilitated discussion and open forum for attendees to provide their feedback on OneSTL materials. Particular attention was paid to issues of local community applicability and resonance of the Vision and Goals, ideas for revisions, and ideas for additional objectives and implementation activities. In addition, attendees discussed existing and ongoing sustainability initiatives in their communities; issues of regional and inter-municipal coordination and cooperation; and concerns, ideas, and general feedback regarding the planning process. Key outcomes of the Local Government Workshops were then used to revise and update the Regional Sustainability Framework, the Regional Vision, Sustainability Themes, Goals, and Objectives.

A report detailing the feedback from each Local Government Workshop and recommendations is available at

Pilot Studies

In May and June 2013, the planning team conducted Pilot Studies in five communities throughout the St. Louis region. Pilot Studies were conducted in the cities of Belleville, IL; O’Fallon, MO; Festus, MO; Bellefontaine Neighbors, MO; and Alton, IL. Each Pilot Study lasted one week and was conducted on-site in cooperation with local elected officials and city staff. The Pilot Study process was intended to develop and test recommendations for local communities and governments to facilitate sustainable development within their communities.

The municipalities selected for the five Pilot Studies provide a diverse and representative cross-section of the St. Louis region’s communities. They include a rural suburban community (Festus), a contemporary exurban suburb (O’Fallon), a classic mid century bedroom community (Bellefontaine Neighbors), an historic river town (Alton), and a large, independent county seat city (Belleville).

Each Pilot Study followed the format of the St. Louis County Code Assessment How-To Manual, which is one of the Consortium Partner deliverables of OneSTL. The St. Louis County Code Assessment How-To Manual uses the “Think B-I-G” approach of removing BARRIERS, developing INCENTIVES, and filling GAPS in municipal regulatory plans and codes. During each Pilot Study, the planning team analyzed the zoning codes, subdivision codes, and comprehensive plans to identify existing barriers and gaps to achieving sustainable development goals. Sustainable development goals were identified and prioritized by city staff, elected officials, and residents within each Pilot Study community.

Despite the diversity of these communities, there were five common barriers and gaps that were identified in all five Pilot Studies. They include:

  • Coordinated Economic Development Strategies
  • Streets, Sidewalks & Accessibility
  • Housing Diversity
  • Community Safety & Perception
  • Fiscal Health & Governmental Efficiency

Unexpectedly, the process revealed that all five communities face many of the same issues. A report detailing the outcomes of the five Pilot Studies is available at