The City Council questioned and residents opposed a proposal to form an advisory committee to improve the city's planning process.
The council wanted the advisory committee to stay away from policy decisions and to include one resident, not just members from the building industry.
Some residents feared the advisory committee would have too much power over the Community Development Code.
At the July 8 planning meeting, a few of developers aired their grievances saying the code was too complex, the planning process too restrictive and the planning department not user friendly. The developers' complaints continued during the public comment section of Tuesday's meeting.
At the July 8 meeting, City Council President Kathy Connell recommended creating a user group that would open up the lines of communication between developers and the planning department.
The proposal, which was created by City Manager Paul Hughes and architect Jan Kaminski, had the group comprised of planners, architects, appraisers, civil engineers, landscape architects, attorneys, surveyors and construction trade representatives.
Hughes said the committee would be a recommending body only and would look at ways to streamline the planning process. Also, if someone was not satisfied with a planning decision or direction, they could first go to Planning Director Steve Stamey then to Hughes, and if the issue was still not solved they could go to the advisory committee.
"Someone could say this piece (of the code) is hard to use and if we did something here, we could make it easier to use," Hughes said. "That is what we are trying for, to make the code easier to use."
Council members said they would like to see someone outside the building community on the committee.
Hughes never intended to have such a formal structure for the advisory committee. He envisioned morning meetings in which anybody who wanted to could talk about the code or permit issues.
As plans for the advisory committee progressed, Hughes said, people indicated certain professionals should be included.
"It was not my intention to provide certain criteria. I would rather just (have) the direction to go ahead and gather people together and get going," Hughes said.
Resident Stuart Orzach objected to the advisory committee, which he said even with a resident representative would be ruled with special interests. With hundreds of residents putting in time to update the community area plan, Orzach questioned the council's willingness to have a advisory committee make recommendations about the code, which implements the community plan.
"The City Council is responsible for the public welfare and too often hands it off to committees of special interest groups," Orzach said. "And the recommendations of the committees become the defacto polices of the council."
He said a different venue was needed to discuss working out the kinks in the planning department. An approach similar to the one Routt County took in looking at a judicial facility, opening the discussion up and bringing 40 to 70 people together, might work.
Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner said the city needed to make sure the purview of the group was focused on clarifying procedures and technical issues and not setting policy.
"Policy is the purview of the (community area plan) and the city council and not necessarily of this group," Stettner said.