Area update called rushed

County planning commissioners want more time

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— Routt County planning commissioners' initial comments about the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan Update had one common word: rushed.

"I felt the whole process rushed," Routt County Planning Commissioner Ken Brenner said at last Thursday night's board meeting.

"I understand the intent of keeping the process moving forward, but not at the expense of the project."

Planning commissioners were scheduled to discuss the plan update at their board meeting last week, but decided to write out key points on their own and meet again a few hours before the public open house, which starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

At the meeting, information tables will be set up, presentations will be given for the public and time for questions will be allowed.

In their 30-minute discussion Thursday, planning commissioners said that the plan was lacking in a variety of areas.

One example of a part of the plan that needed more work came from Planning Commissioner Donna Hellyer, who said the growth management section was not complete. Hellyer said the focus group assigned to the topic did not explore growth options well enough.

"They aren't focusing on the growth," Hellyer said.

Some numbers chosen as benchmarks in the update, such as the recommended 3.4 percent average annual population increase, were not explained, Planning Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said.

Another key complaint, expressed first by Routt County Planning Director Caryn Fox, was that the plan did not have a set action plan and that without specific recommended actions to achieve goals, it seemed too general.

"We don't even have a check-off list with this," Fox said.

The idea that the plan update, which has been in the works since November 2001, was rushed was echoed by most of the planning commissioners.

"We expected a quality product," Planning Commissioner John Ayer said. "And what's the rush? We're in this thing for the long-run."

The plan, planning commissioners said, helps guide growth and changes in the area for the next few decades, so spending several years on it is not too much time.

A public meeting on the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan Update will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Centennial Hall.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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