~ by Trevor Phipps ~
During the last couple of weeks, local governments have held inaugural meetings to set the course for 2018.
Green Mountain Falls is no different. Last Tuesday, the town hosted a joint meeting among the town’s board of trustees and planning commission. The main topic of the meeting was to formulate a comprehensive master plan for the town’s future.
A comprehensive master plan is a document that is intended to help elected leaders make policies for the future, and it consists of a variety of issues, running the gamut from economic diversity/development and tourism promotion, to zoning and land use. Since the early 1980s, the Colorado State Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) has encouraged and assisted a number of local governments in creating comprehensive plans. The DOLA website explains that, “A comprehensive plan promotes the community’s vision, goals, objectives, and policies; establishes a process for orderly growth and development; addresses both current and long-term needs; and provides for a balance between the natural and built environment.”
Most local governments attempt to create or update a comprehensive plan every 10 years. The first plan for Green Mountain Falls was drafted in 1981. They then followed the tradition in 1996, 2007, and now in 2018.
For the last few months, members of both the board of trustees and the planning commission have been working on ideas to prepare for the master plan. They have re-read the plan from 2007 and figured out what issues still applied and what accomplishments have been made. The government officials also have been working on coming up with goals that need to be in the new plan.
The presentation about the town’s master plan was given by Planning Commissioner Dick Bratton. Bratton was named the project manager of the plan due to his presence during the previous comp efforts. Bratton also said that he drafted master plans for the military for decades during his previous career.
Bratton discussed the master plan process and gave some background as to why this task is important. He also introduced DOLA senior planner Ann Miller who was present at the meeting to answer any questions about comprehensive plans in general. She also stated that DOLA offers resources to help local officials come up with the town’s comprehensive master plan.
Citizen and Board Member Reactions
The meeting generated a variety of comments from citizens and civic leaders.
Planning Commissioner Greg Williamson said, “It’s about sustainability. It’s about creating a community that’s works.” Many present at the meeting felt that the town needs to figure out what type of community they want to be and stick with their plan. The idea of coming up with a slogan and brand for the town was even mentioned.
One citizen remembers when locals rode horses through Green Mountain Falls. The citizen felt that implementation goals should be a part of the comprehensive master plan. The citizen said that she remembers when the town had grocery stores and gas stations. Moreover, she would like to see the town have more local businesses.
Planning Commission Chairmen Eric Caldwell feels that the plan should include ways of increasing diversity of residents. He thinks that the community needs to be a place that people of all ages want to live in.
One resident, who was present for the meeting where they discussed the first town master plan in 1981, contends that the first plan was more successful than the previous two plans due to the large amount of community involvement. He thought that local officials did a good job of gaining community participation by spreading the word to everyone in the town back in 1981. The local officials responded by saying that they were planning on forming a citizen’s advisory committee as soon as possible.
GMF Mayor Jane Newberry stated that, “There are day to day issues that need to be addressed and that take our attention, but we need to be looking beyond today’s problems and toward the direction we want to go into the future as well.”
During the meeting, the hiring of a new town manager was only briefly mentioned. However, many believe that the issue needs to be addressed as a part of the 2018 comprehensive master plan.