More money allocated to Garfield County comp plan project
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A several-month project to update Garfield County’s comprehensive plan is headed into the final stretch.
County commissioners on Monday approved an additional $18,550 to complete the work being spearheaded by the county planning commission and a citizen advisory committee.
Approximately $11,950 of that will go to pay consultants Winston Associates for work associated with the last round of advisory committee and community dialogue meetings that took place last month.
The remainder will cover the cost of several more meetings over the next three months, including public hearings before the planning commission in August or early September for consideration of the draft comprehensive plan update.
A tentative schedule for the next round of work includes a June 2 planning commission work session, with formal public hearings on the new plan to take place in August.
“With this revised scope it makes a lot of sense to finish the work the comprehensive plan project was intended to include,” county Planning Director Fred Jarman said at Monday’s meeting.
A critical part of the process was to facilitate the community meetings in a way that encouraged as much public participation as possible, he said.
“We’re on a critical path toward the end, to sew this project up,” Jarman said.
Community meetings that took place in February built on an initial round of meetings held last fall where several questions were posed to participants.
Among the key concerns expressed by citizens included managing growth, diversifying the economy, providing affordable housing for working people, protecting air and water quality, and preserving the rural character of the county, according to data compiled by Winston Associates.
Participants said the No. 1 potential benefit of future population growth is “support for more cultural and recreational amenities,” according to a summary of the data.
And, when it comes to development, participants also preferred it be limited to “infill within existing city limits” and that the county work to maintain open space between existing communities as opposed to permitting sprawl development.
The data also touched on such things as focusing more efforts on preservation of open spaces, creation of trails networks, and providing “multimodal” transportation systems, including buses, cars and trails.
At the February meetings, participants were asked to weigh in on the county’s future through various scenarios, which will be included in the draft revisions.
Jarman said one side project that could come out of the comprehensive plan process using the same consultants may be to update a decades-old study looking at possible municipal incorporation for Battlement Mesa.
The large residential community that was built by Exxon Corp. during the oil shale boom in the early 1980s remains under the jurisdiction of unincorporated Garfield County.
A study was done in the late 1980s to consider incorporation, but the idea never took off.
“We have had requests from that community to see if there’s merit in updating that study,” Jarman said, adding it may make sense to piggyback on the comp plan work.
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