OUR VIEW | SteamboatToday.com


The destiny of the country

If you’re fishing for a particular fish, you use a particular bait.

And if you’re looking for public participation really looking don’t put out advertisement steeped in “bureaucratese” that only lawyers and planning department staff can understand.

Routt County officials say they want residents to speak out on the draft of the Routt County Master Plan, but their ads soliciting participation don’t really tell the public what is a master plan.

The master plan will basically map out the future of the unincorporated, or the rural, areas. It also could have significant impacts on our cities and towns.

For the last year, the county planning staff has worked to update the last revision of the master plan, which was done more than 20 years ago.

The plan provides planning commissioners and planning staff leverage when dealing with property owners seeking a permit for property land use change.

This key point is why it is critical that residents take part in this process.

New sections of the plan address issues like environmental impacts, recreation, transportation, and housing.

The goal, explained county Assistant Planning Director Chad Phillips, is to create a document reflecting the view of residents on land use in the county and their vision of how they want the next 15 to 20 years of land use change to pan out.

Before 1980, when the last master plan was drafted, much of the community’s voice was centered around mining mainly for gravel and coal, Phillips said. So the 1980 plan has a large mining chapter, outlining policies for property owners.

Now, county officials say the public seems to be more interested in protecting agricultural land and open spaces. In response, an Agricultural Lands chapter has been added, which outlines policies on protecting these properties.

Members of the public must take some initiative. If they are truly interested in the future of Routt County, they need to get a copy of the master plan, sit down, read it and get to a public meeting so their concerns can be expressed.

See the ad on the following page for times and locations. This is your county get involved its destiny.

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