Planners of the BHGC Flood Control Project in the Phoenix area aimed for a rustication theme, evident in the two-barrel flume structure over the channel. Photos: John Lizvey
Workers check progress on the multiuse trail that runs the entire length of the corridor.
Glendale's citizen participation ordinance

‘Believe it or not, citizens do know what's best for them,” said Glendale, Ariz., city councilor Joyce Clark. “The more information they get, the more they can contribute and can come to consensus on a project. It's not a ‘father knows best' attitude any more.”

Glendale's citizen participation ordinance requires all developers to create and implement a citizen participation plan even before holding any public hearing on a project. The ordinance, enacted in September 1997, was crafted to alleviate an increasingly hostile atmosphere at public hearings.

Before that, “all we were doing was notifying citizens that they had an opportunity to complain,” Gary Fulk, then Glendale's planning manager, told the National Planning Conference in 1999. “Developers assumed they had an acceptable project, only to go to a public hearing and find residents up in arms over their proposals. Development applications were being routinely tabled so applicants could address residents' concerns,” he said. “The citizens' first opportunity to get involved in the discussion [was] at the time the decision [was] to be made.”

Fulk's conference paper—which includes the text of the citizen participation ordinance and a description of its background, implementation, and effectiveness—is available at