Fresh strategies outlined in updated Glenwood comp plan |

Fresh strategies outlined in updated Glenwood comp plan

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The city of Glenwood Springs has come a long way in its long-range planning efforts in the 12 years since the city’s 1998 Comprehensive Plan was first written.What’s new in the 2011 revised version of the comp plan is a fresh set of strategies designed to continue meeting some of the same goals contained in the original plan over the next decade, and beyond.”The broader goals are the same as they were in the 1998 plan,” city planner Gretchen Ricehill said. “What the updated plan does is provide some new policies and strategies for achieving those goals.”Several of the strategies included in the original document have been completed in the form of different action plans and policy guidelines, which have been adopted by the city’s elected leaders in the time since, she said.They include the downtown plan, the subsequent formation of the Downtown Development Authority, a redevelopment strategy for the confluence area west of downtown, new street standards, a parks and recreation master plan, a housing needs assessment and an attainable housing strategy.Those and other efforts are listed on page 12 of the new comp plan update, which is before city council for a continued public hearing tonight.The major policy directions included in the revised plan relate to future redevelopment of existing commercial properties throughout Glenwood Springs, and various options for addressing traffic concerns along the Highway 82/Grand Avenue corridor through downtown.The comp plan update addresses the “next steps” in eventually implementing alternatives such as a new bypass route for Highway 82, which are outlined in the recently adopted Corridor Optimization Plan. Tonight’s meeting is the second of three planned discussions of the updated plan by city council. Additional public comments are also being taken before formal adoption, which is slated for March 17.

“I see this as a visionary, guiding document to keep Glenwood moving forward,” Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission member Kathryn Trauger said at the Feb. 17 city council meeting.”While I may not agree with every word in the plan, I believe it takes the best of all the relevant ideas in the 1998 plan, and blends it with current economic condition,” she said.P&Z was unable to forward either a favorable or unfavorable recommendation on the proposed plan after holding a series of public hearings earlier this year.P&Z member Michael Blair said the fact that the plan itself was written by an outside consultant, rather than the P&Z itself, was one of his concerns.”A lot of work was done to write this plan without the involvement of P&Z,” he said. “I also felt like we couldn’t really change what city council had already put in the plan before we looked at it.”One citizen who commented at the Feb. 17 hearing, Floyd Diemoz, said he’d rather see the city keep the 1998 plan and not adopt the revised comp plan. The reason is the downturn in the economy in recent years, he said.”The way I read it, this new plan would totally stop development in Glenwood Springs,” Diemoz said.

City council members agreed the plan may still need some fine-tuning to reflect current conditions.”We’re in a different time even since we started this process,” Mayor Bruce Christensen said of the more than year-long effort to rewrite the comp plan. “We need to make sure we don’t throw a wet blanket on economic development.”One section of the plan to be discussed tonight relates to the city’s future annexation policy and so-called “urban growth boundary.””Within the urban growth boundary, annexation is preferred over development through county jurisdiction, unless there are extenuating circumstances and significant public benefit to do otherwise,” the revised document recommends.”Annexation will occur only through petition of the land owner(s). It is not the intent of the City to compel annexation,” it reads. “The city will consider annexation only within the Urban Growth Boundary unless there is a compelling public benefit to consider annexation of a parcel outside the boundary.”Tonight’s regular city council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 W. 8th

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