County Update: Embarking on the master plan

Routt County Comissioner Tim Redmond (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The fact is we have all been through so much, and I don’t know if we are out of the woods yet, but I think we are close. Hopefully, you and your loved ones came through without too much stress. Those of you who lost someone, please accept my condolences. I, personally, feel blessed and lucky that I survived the COVID-19 virus and its after-effects.

With the onset of spring, the melting of the snow and the opportunity to get vaccinated, we can all move forward and tackle the issues we put on hold for over a year. One of the major projects we will embark upon this year is an update to our county’s land use master plan. How we decide to use and preserve our land in both the municipalities and our rural areas will shape the character of our county for decades.

As a commissioner and a citizen, I am thankful to the agricultural community for the stewardship of the land and how our agricultural lifestyle contributes to the heritage and beauty of our home. As we move forward on updating our land use policies, I wonder about many issues. How do we protect and enhance the agricultural community? How do we tackle our affordable housing shortage and high home prices? How do we create room to grow with our population? How do young families afford rent/mortgage and child care? How do we work with Xcel to ensure the Hayden Power Station is converted into a viable option that benefits the people of Routt County? How will we generate enough tax revenue and jobs to replace the ones lost to power plant and mine closures? How do we address water shortages, decreasing snowpack and wildland fires?

These are serious problems that threaten our way of life. Instead of looking at our situation with fear, I see an opportunity to address all these issues with a comprehensive master plan. Put on hold last year, the master planning process will start in earnest with public meetings this summer. Your voice is important, and I want to hear your thoughts and concerns about the future of our county. Let’s appreciate this opportunity to choose our direction. We need open minds and hearts as we tackle the challenges in front of us. The future of the county and our quality of life is at stake.

The master plan process is a way we can all work together to build and protect our county. Yes, there will be conflicts and competing interests, but I believe by working together we can find a balance that will benefit the future residents of Routt County.

To find out more about the Routt County Master Plan, please visit our website, You can learn about current land use policies and the results of community outreach in 2019; you can also leave your comments and subscribe to the master plan newsletter. Starting in the summer, there will also be information about public meetings around particular themes like housing and transportation.

Please take on the responsibility to engage in the process. Being informed and letting us know your thoughts and concerns is what makes democracy work. I believe respect and understanding for each other will provide the way forward. There is a lot of work in front of us, but hard work, persistence and determination will achieve our goals.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!

Tim Redmond serves on the Routt County Board of Commissioners.

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