Commission addresses future goals
~ by Bob Volpe ~
Woodland Park planners have signaled the green light for the next phase of construction for a previously approved nursing home project.
More specifically, the planning commission okayed a condition use permit for the phase two construction of a 24-bed assisted living facility, located on Village Terrace, in the south end of the city. The facility will not provide in-house medical services.
The project is the combined effort of the RTB development group and the landowner, Woodland Park Storage, LLC, Eric Smith.
Phase one of the facility was approved in October of 2015, and is slated to open for business within the next few weeks. The phase two building is a mirror image of the first building. The facility will also have a common area with walking trails, open space, a picnic area, shade structure, and a fire pit.
The facility will provide employment for 23 people of which 16 will be caregivers. Officials have cited a big need for assisted living facilities in the Woodland Park community, with the burgeoning growth of senior citizens. But these plans often raise the ire of local residents.
The developers appeared before the planning commission last week to ask for approval to combine six lots on the property into two lots. Their request was granted unanimously by the commission, and now moves to a first reading before city council on September 6.
Planning For the Future
After the regular meeting, the commission gathered around informal tables to discuss priorities for the coming budget session.
Planning Director Sally Riley provided each member of the commission with a 12-page list of actions (wish list) for the commissioners to consider and grade and narrow down to 10 priorities to present to council for consideration in the 2019 budget.
The list was divided into a series of topics including: land use and growth, housing, community character and design, city finance, economic development and tourism, sustainable city issues, sustainable environmental policies, water, waste water, transportation, drainage, public safety and emergency management, parks, trails, and open space, community well-being, education, health, arts and community heritage.
After much deliberation and debate, the commissioners came to a consensus on eight key areas of needed action.
The goals chosen to be sent to council to be considered in the 2019 budget and future planning are: updating and identifying pedestrian corridors and installing sidewalks over the next six years; expanding outdoor lighting standards; pursuing addition water sources and applying for new water rights; coordinating all construction and maintenance projects to build “smart streets;” exploring ways for citizens to recycle cardboard; working with the WP Chamber of Commerce and Main Street to have more winter activities to attract tourists; updating the noise ordinance and obtaining funding for a full time code enforcement officer.
Items on the list that generated the most debate, however, did not receive as many votes. For example, Planning Commission Chairman Jon DeVaux argued for greater police presence and enforcement of traffic laws downtown. DeVaux cited excessive speeding and traffic violations on Hwy. 24 downtown. But in the final commission vote, this idea got vetoed from the list of top priorities.
Another item on the public safety and emergency management section of the list that received the commission boot was to establish and equip an emergency operation center.
Other items that didn’t receive many votes by planning commission members included updating landscaping codes, implementing a water source protection plan (security), completing a long
term plan for Meadow Wood Sports Complex, working with the Olympic Training Center for high
altitude training programs, and exploring ways to partner with educational institutions to provide more educational opportunities in the city.
The commission hopes to present their findings to the city council at their September 6 meeting.