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Town plans for future growth

Danie Harrelson

— The town of Hayden will likely undergo changes in the coming decades, as the effects of an annual 2 percent to 3 percent growth rate materialize.

The Hayden Planning Commission last year decided to pursue a strategy that would anticipate, rather than react to, the demands of a larger population on its street system.

The commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Town Hall to take a second look at the draft of a plan that would require developers to shoulder some of the costs associated with growth.

The commission is looking at calling upon those who will bring future development to Hayden to help finance improvements to the town’s roads and streets.

The streets in Hayden can handle today’s traffic, but tomorrow’s traffic merits a serious look before it becomes a burden to the town, Town Manager Rob Straebel said.

“Our road systems can handle the traffic flows from the current size of our community,” Straebel said. “But in the future, our community will place greater demands on the roads that we won’t be able to handle.”

The town hired a private consultant from Boulder to look into potential infrastructure problems.

The consultant made such suggestions as paying attention to future congestion on Poplar Street and looking into building an alternative road out of the Golden Meadows subdivision.

Like many communities on the Western Slope, Hayden must find solutions to dealing with its growing pains, Hayden planning commissioner Donna Hellyer said.

“You look around and you see that Hayden is not alone in trying to deal with a bigger population in the future,” she said.

The decline in sales-tax revenue from the Yampa Valley Regional Airport forced the town to cut funding for paving its streets.

Less money for infrastructure projects means the town may need to look elsewhere for assistance with its roads and streets, she said.

“The bottom line is, when development comes in, developers have to pay their way,” Hellyer said.

Moving now to prevent a future headache requires vision and foresight, she said, actions that will benefit the town long after the current commission dissolves.

“I may not be around in 20 years,” Hellyer said. “But the problems that follow growth will be. We have to look down the road.”

Projections show areas west and south of Hayden may see the most development.

Planning for future growth is essential to prevent future dilemmas, she added.

“It’s necessary for any community from the standpoint that it’s better to do it prior than to wait for it to happen,” she said.

The Planning Commission will meet for the first time since its October meeting. Commissioners could not meet last month because a quorum could not be met.


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