Community Planning Assistance Teams
Through Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT), the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association partners with the state Department of Commercce (Commerce) to provide communities (cities, towns or neighborhoods) the assistance of professional planners and other specialists in articulating visions, solving problems or resolving issues. Read on for more information about APA Washington's CPAT program, how you can participate, and how we can create a partnership.
What Is CPAT?
The CPAT is a committee and a program of APA Washington. The objectives of CPAT are to connect plans and actions, identify local and regional resources for sustainable planning, and advance the principles of APA for a Livable Washington. CPAT assistance is targeted to communities that lack planning resources, however, an online resource has recently been made available thanks to funding from the American Planning Association Urban Design and Preservation Division and the Washington State Planning Directors Association. The CPAT Community Design Resource project resulted in creation of the new “Community Design and Planning Handbook” . Use this resource to gain a better understanding of the CPAT program and how to participate, and to access technical information for use in understanding, identifying and addressing community design issues.
CPAT members include planners with expertise in land use, transportation, economic development, urban design, natural resources, parks and recreation, historic preservation, and other areas. There are members all over the state. In addition, CPAT is affiliated with the planning schools at Eastern Washington University and the University of Washington. With these resources, CPAT is accustomed to working with diverse community groups and finding progressive solutions.
History of Washington’s CPAT Program
The concept for the CPAT program was established in 2001 as a WA-APA priority to provide community design assistance to underserved towns and communities throughout the state. The initial effort was led by staff from the University of Washington’s Center for Livable Communities, including Roger Wagoner, John Owen, Fritz Wagoner, and Dennis Ryan. They established the goal of providing the assistance of professional planners and related professions to articulate long term state-wide and regional smart growth visions, and to respond to immediate and short term needs of small communities with limited or no planning resources.
The program was officially launched by Washington APA in 2005 and led by planners’ Paula Reeves and Kristian Kofoed, with the support of an advisory committee. Since that time, CPAT has conducted community based events in Sultan (2005), Cle Elum (2006), Concrete (2007), Zillah (2007), Morton (2007), Royal City (2009), Goldendale (2009), Woodland (2009), Prosser (2010-2011), and Ocean Shores (2012). Each of these projects had their own distinct focuses and goals. The final reports from these efforts are available on WA-APA’s CPAT web-page: http://washington-apa.org/programs/cpat/
- Ocean Shores
- Royal City
- Cle Elum - Old Town Revitalization
- Downtown Sultan - Vision 2020
- Prosser Report, City of Prosser Thank You Letter
What CPAT Can Provide
CPAT offers several levels of assistance. Upon submission of a completed CPAT Request for Assistance form, CPAT's Technical Advisory Committee will review the request and determine whether the applicant qualifies for assistance, and if so, what level of assistance is appropriate. CPAT levels of assistance range from a consultation to various types of community-based events and follow-up activities.
- Consultation is the simplest and quickest CPAT assistance level. Assistance is provided through a telephone or in-person conference between your community's representative(s) and CPAT team members. This Consultation level of assistance provides suggestions of self-help measures and/or alternative resources appropriate to the defined issues.
- On the other end of the spectrum, various types of Community-based Events and Follow-up provide a more substantive level of assistance. The one to two day planning charrettes provide more in-depth analysis and a culminating report, such as those linked to this site. A CPAT Community-based Event requires between four to six months of planning and coordination, and thus a higher level of commitment from your community. A Memorandum of Understanding will be developed following pre-event consultations. Scheduling of the event should be based on other local activities and fixed events. A Friday evening / Saturday all day schedule is generally the most productive. After the charrette, follow-up contacts from CPAT may provide support for implementation.
How You Can Participate
There are three distinct kinds of participants in CPAT efforts: communities, individual volunteers, and organizations.
- Individual volunteers with relevant subject matter expertise may find a satisfying pro bono experience as a resource person on CPAT. If you are willing to serve as a volunteer, please call a CPAT Co-chair (contact information listed below) to learn about current and future volunteer opportunities, or submit a Volunteer Form .
- Organizations interested in partnering should call a CPAT Co-chair below to explore their interests and discuss getting a partnership discussion scheduled.
Current CPAT Activities
CPAT is currently assisting the Seattle neighborhood with a series of “coffee talks” similar to those organized by CPAT for the Wedgewood Community Council during 2012. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and its member organizations sought planning assistance through CPAT to expand the community's understanding of important aspects of growth and development. With the planned future redevelopment of the several large auto dealership properties within Lake City, the community has the opportunity to collaborate in developing concepts for redevelopment.
Thus far, three coffee talks have been completed, including (1) economics and branding, (2) urban design, and (3) transportation. A fourth coffee talk on the topic of “diversity” is planned for late June.