Rifle residents plan for the next 20 years | PostIndependent.com

Rifle residents plan for the next 20 years

Aaron Mattix points to trails and areas of Rifle he'd like to see developed at the planning workshop on Monday. Each table came with a map for attendees to use a guide when specific questions were posed to the group.
Alex Zorn / Post Independent |

As the City of Rifle plans its infrastructure and built environment for the next 20 years, community members met earlier this week to ensure its residents’ voices are heard. Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist hosted a comprehensive plan workshop Wednesday, which invited anyone interested to discuss the towns’ long-term future.

“It’s important to remember that the comprehensive plan is a regulatory document,” Lindquist said. “When planning commission and council and staff make decisions on things, one of the criteria is does it follow the comprehensive plan? We can always change the plan as we move forward, but it really sets what we want our community to be.”

“What are the principles and goals we as a community have to grow our city?”

The comprehensive plan update started last winter, and the following spring, city staff began to analyze where growth should go. The city hosted a workshop last summer, and Lindquist hopes to revise the comprehensive plan this summer, to present a final document by fall.

“We are ready to get input on how to build the city over the next 20 years,” he said.

There was hardly an empty seat in the room as the planning staff received input on what types of infrastructure and housing residents would want to see and where they want to see it built.

With an average growth rate of 2 to 2.5 percent, Rifle’s population is expected to grow by 5,000 people during the next 20 years.

With that in mind, the meeting focused on two main questions: 1) How do we deal with growth of 5,000 and 2) How do we invest to create the quality of life the community wants?

“Your input and voices are important to us,” Mayor Randy Winkler said briefly before being called away for city council. “We’ll be talking about this for the next several months and years.”

Those in attendance answered survey questions and examined maps to get a better sense of what projects they would like to see prioritized.

When asked what would be the best investment in quality of life for Rifle neighborhoods, nearly half of all respondents answered “trails for all users and an open space network.”

While the workshop encompassed all aspects of Rifle’s built environment, meaning anything that the city builds or infrastructure, it focused primarily on where the future infrastructure may be built.

In previous surveys, nearly 47 percent of respondents said that there was too little growth in downtown Rifle. Lindquist said there is a lot of developable area downtown.

Only three respondents said they would like to see multi-family housing dispersed throughout town based on developers’ preferences, rather than having the city encourage growth in core areas.

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