Seeking broad input from the ground up, SACOG and partner Valley Vision launched a series of 37 workshops in neighborhoods, cities, and counties throughout the region in 2003. The Blueprint workshop series began at the neighborhood level. Each city or county hosted one workshop in their area highlighting two or more case study areas. Citizens worked in small groups performing interactive planning using computers and table maps. The computer program modeled the impacts of choices made in a “what if” type exercise. Once completed, the collective input of all the neighborhood workshops was used to create scenarios for five counties in the region (El Dorado County did not participate at this level of the Blueprint Workshops due to legal issues surrounding the General Plan). The county scenarios started another series of workshops, where citizens worked with maps and computer programs to give input for countywide development. Then, the process repeated itself a third time, again with the region’s planners working together, to create scenarios for the entire six county region. Regional workshop participants worked on region-wide maps and saw the impacts of change as the computer program provided performance statistics for their choices. Finally, the input from all the workshops and more than 5,000 participants, helped create four distinct growth scenarios. The four were the focal point of the Regional Forum in April 2004 that drew more than 1,400 people. Forum participants overwhelmingly rejected the Base Case in favor of alternatives providing for a greater range of housing choices, reinvestment in already developed areas and closer integration of jobs and housing.
Following the Forum, a 1,300-person public opinion poll on growth issues in the region was conducted. The public opinion poll also found strong support for the Blueprint growth principles in all six counties of the SACOG region.
After completing the public opinion poll and a series of public workshops, city and county elected officials in the region were invited to a first-ever Regional Summit to discuss a Draft Preferred Blueprint Scenario.