Be heard in Garfield | AspenTimes.com

Be heard in Garfield

Dear Editor:In nautical terms, Garfield County’s Comprehensive Plan for 2030 is the rudder of our good ship. It’s the plan for where we will put more than 60,000 new people and 23,000 new homes, the guide for development. The final draft is ready for your approval. We’ve hired very good consultants to listen to you. You have told us that you value the open space and the rural feel of our county. You don’t want to see one house on every 2 acres from Carbondale to Battlement Mesa. As a result, the Comp Plan says put as much development near the existing towns as possible. Massive housing communities outside of services are discouraged, which makes sense to me. Next, imagine you own 500 acres. Right now, you can divide it up into 250 two-acre lots (see above). That’s your right. We propose an incentive. Cluster the houses together, leave 70 percent of your land open space, and you still get all 250 lots. Conversely, if you reduce the open space you lose lots. The Realtors Association opposes this policy. Do you?Right now, for oil and gas development, the plan states we will “ensure that mineral extraction is not over-regulated so as to diminish its benefit to the general public.” It has been suggested that we substitute “Ensure that mineral extraction is regulated appropriately, to promote responsible energy development.” Is that what you want?Today, any development plans in Garfield County first must comply with the Comprehensive Plan. That’s written into the code; it’s law. In our last discussion with the commissioners, the question was raised about whether this plan before you should be law or advisory only. P&Z, by vote, elects to maintain its legal status; I strongly agree. This is a very good plan that sets a direction dictated by the public. Why give the commissioners the option of not complying?There are three more public meetings before we vote. This Monday and Wednesday evening in Glenwood and Tuesday in Rifle. Google “Garfield comp plan” and please, tell us what you think.Michael SullivanP&Z commissioner