Working on a team at CRSA, Mark Morris of VODA worked with officials in Rexburg, Idaho to update their Comprehensive Plan document. The team held regular update meetings with local stakeholders, including the city council and planning commission, in order to thoroughly understand the major issues that the city is facing. The new document will aid local leaders in guiding growth and development in appropriate areas and in appropriate forms.
As with other early Mormon communities, Rexburg’s original city plan was patterned after the “Plat of Zion” that was used across the West, viewed by Mormon pioneers as an inspired settlement pattern, and first used by Joseph Smith in the 1830’s in Missouri and Illinois. Key elements of this plat include a predictable grid of streets, uniform development lots, and a core civic center.
The team presented a proposed development plan for the areas planned for growth within the city’s declared annexation area. This development plan reintroduced the City’s original plat grid, making modifications to the grid when needed in order to respond to physical and natural barriers. A grid of streets on the section lines (one-mile interval) still exists in the city, but it was determined that a more refined grid was necessary in order to prevent major congestion problems on those streets in the future. The final plan requires all new development to occur within a ten block per mile grid.
Integrated into the proposed development plan was an expanded parks and trails system. The team found that a top concern of local residents was the loss of open space when new developments came into their neighborhoods. This integrated network of trails and parks would correspond with the network of neighborhood centers, allowing the trails to be used to connect neighborhoods to nearby parks, as well as to larger, regional open spaces.