The Salt Lake Planning Commission is trying to give some "vision" to the downtown planning process and is seeking public comment on a report intended to shape the future of the city's central business distict.

The report, called the Downtown Planning Process, is designed, in its own words, "to articulate the vision of downtown with its essential goals and objectives to direct the future of downtown.""The purpose . . . is to provide a point of discussion and consensus around which, hopefully, the community can agree," said Commission Chairman Thomas Ellison.

The Planning Commission recently released the report for public comment and is stressing that the document is a "visionary" concept. Specific strategy to fulfill the vision will be drafted in a second phase.

"The intent is to start with some general concepts that can be generally agreed upon and move from that to specific programs," Ellison said. "You've got to understand the mission before you can assess whether a program is putting you in the right direction."

Calling downtown the Intermountain West's "central place" and one of the city's distinct "neighborhoods," the report sets out a number of objectives leading toward a comprehensive plan for the downtown's future.

Developing a regional consensus and a commitment among political, financial and private leaders to downtown growth are some of the commission's goals, the report said.

Creating an investment plan that will guide public funds for downtown development and concentrating entertainment and cultural facilities in the downtown area is another, the report said.

The report also addresses housing, tourism, historic preservation, parking and downtown's compatibility with the natural environment.

The report notes that downtown Salt Lake City serves not only the city but also the Wasatch Front, the state and the entire West. "Its successes affect the quality of life of persons living in seven states and up to 500 miles from its core," the report said.

The report addresses concepts embraced by the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team, a group of planners who studied the downtown are in June, although the two are the results of independent projects, Ellison said.

"I think the parallel will continue and become more apparent as time goes on," he said, especially as the Planning Commission begins developing specific strategy, some of which is included in the R/UDAT study, for downtown development.