Planners revisit master plan

Commissioners may approve document tonight

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— Routt County planning officials are confident that after tonight's meeting, an updated version of the county's master plan will be in place. Since December, the Routt County Planning Commission has had two chances to approve the 40-page document. After each adoption hearing, the nine-member commission has held off on approving the master plan because changes were made during the hearings.

"The commission has tweaked the plan each time," said Assistant Planning Director Chad Phillips, who has been working on the plan for more than a year. "Hopefully, they will adopt it."

The adoption hearing, which is open to the public, is set for 6 p.m. tonight in the county commissioner's hearing room, 136 Sixth St.

The Planning Commission made significant headway on the plan during its last meeting when it reviewed the plan Jan. 3.

The commissioners scrutinized the plan and reviewed every policy and guideline.

"The commission really hasn't changed much as far as the direction of the plan," Phillips said. "What they have done is strengthen some language in the plan. They have made sure the language supports the intent of the plan."

If the Planning Commission approves the master plan, it would update a document that has been in place since 1980.

The county's master plan is to be used as a planning tool to map out the county's future growth.

Troy Brookshire, who is the chairman of the commission, said he is optimistic the plan will be adopted.

"Obviously, we have spent a lot of time reviewing it," Brookshire said. "I don't believe that there are any sort of issues out there that would delay this any further."

Brookshire said he expects the board to discuss a couple of issues and hear from anyone in the public before a vote is taken.

Phillips said the plan has served the county well because it is vague and the county's position on growth and land use has not changed.

However, planning officials and the commission felt the plan needed revising to reflect present issues the county is facing.

The county has added new chapters to the plan that address environmental impacts, recreation and tourism, agricultural lands, transportation and housing.

These new additions join policies that are in place for land-use proposals, development, environmental constraints and mineral and wildlife resources.

The plan is the only item on the commission's agenda this evening.

During the past two times the plan was before the commission, the board had other agenda items to tend to.

To avoid that problem, the Planning Commission scheduled the public hearing during a night when the board does not meet.

"We decided to set this for an off-night," Brookshire said. "We felt this was the best way to approve it."

Once the plan is approved, the Routt County Board of Commissioners will then review the document.

A draft of the plan was completed last February after county officials got public input by holding informational meetings in Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Oak Creek in the fall of 2000.

"The Planning Commission at this point is pretty happy with where the plan is," Brookshire said.

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