Stagecoach Master Plan update in limbo |

Stagecoach Master Plan update in limbo

Funds cut by commissioners; long-range planner laid off

Zach Fridell

— An update of the Stagecoach Master Plan would be the first thing added back to the county planning agenda if the resources were available. But after the long-range planner was laid off and the office remains busy with other projects, it's unlikely that will happen any time soon.

Chad Phillips, Routt County Regional Planning Department director, said the office wanted to complete the project but was stymied when the Routt County Board of Commissioners cut the department's budget.

"I'm sorry we couldn't complete it, but it's the first one to be put back on the table when the money's there," he said.

Even so, Don Alperti, Stage­coach Owners Association president and Routt County Plan­ning Commission chairman, said there's no rush because no development is happening in Stagecoach now anyway.

"We wanted it updated, but with nothing basically going on development-wise … it's fine not doing anything on it at this point," he said. "I'd say if we start to get some development here in Stagecoach or anywhere in Routt County, I would definitely see a need."

But Sue Kimes, Stagecoach Owners Association Board of Directors member, said the document is important in the community and warrants attention.

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"It's very impactful," she said. "The planning commission uses that document exclusively. … In the past, they have relied on it heavily."

She said an update would be a "chance to maybe rethink some of the constraints of development out in Stagecoach" such as a lack of commercial cottage industries. The owners association also could address that topic.

Alperti said little has changed since the plan was last updated about 10 years ago but several that residents expressed interest in commercial zoning at a July 25 owners association meeting.

"One of the overriding issues is we do want some commercial zoning in Stage­coach," he said. "Are the original concepts in the original plan still valid? I don't know. I would think that recreation is one of the key issues, and that would definitely stay there."

Phillips agreed that there's no imperative to get the plan updated soon.

"The plan is still in pretty good shape," he said. "We really haven't heard from too many people that it's out of date or it doesn't reflect the vision of the community."

Former long-range planner Ellen Hoj was in charge of the master plan, but when her position was reduced, Phillips said it was clear that the long-range planning position was not going to be filled. He said the position likely will be replaced if either the number of applications goes up significantly — and there's more money to hire a person — or if the number of applications plummets and one of the regular planners has time to pick up the duties.

Alperti said he doesn't think the area needs to hire an independent planner because of the slow development across the region.

"It's the same thing everywhere," he said, and until it picks up, the project will remain at status quo.

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