GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A shift away from a regulatory focus and toward a more customer-service approach has prompted a new name for the former Garfield County building and planning department.
The department that handles building permits, processes land-use applications and offers an array of other development-oriented services is now officially known as the Garfield County Community Development Department.
"It's something that has been in the works and a goal of mine since I became the department director in 2006," said Fred Jarman, who carries the new title of community development director for the county.
"The name better represents the services we offer and the way we function as a department," he said.
Building and planning is an outdated name that defines a more regulatory, permit-based culture, Jarman said.
Since the 1980s, though, there has been a shift in most local government building and planning offices to a more service-oriented focus.
Many area municipalities adopted the "community development" moniker several years ago, including Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. Some towns maintain a separate building department, however.
Likewise, "we have grown up a whole bunch from that culture of just dealing with building permits and administering the county's zoning and subdivision regulations, to providing more services to the community," Jarman said.
Also falling under the new Garfield County Community Development Department are the functions of the oil and gas liaison between citizens and the energy industry.
And the county's yet-to-be-filled economic development liaison will also come under the broadened scope of community development, Jarman said.
"That position is in kind of a holding pattern at this point, but it is something we want to pursue in some form," he said. "The bottom line is we have postured ourselves as more of a service-oriented department."
Changing departmental names to reflect the changing times is common as the types of services those departments provide evolves.
For instance, the former county social services department has been known in more recent years as the human services department, and what used to be referred to as personnel now goes by the name human resources department.
"Given the relatively substantial rural-to-urban size of Garfield County, and the sophistication of the type and quality of the services provided to the community, this is a positive change in the county's government culture for the ultimate benefit of its citizens," according to a statement on the Garfield County Community Development Department web page.