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Carbondale revising its comprehensive land-use plan

John StroudGlenwood Springs correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – The town of Carbondale is timing its own effort to update its 10-year-old comprehensive plan to coincide with Garfield County’s comp plan process.”The timing of this ties in with the Garfield County Comprehensive Plan process, allowing the town to be more engaged in the county’s plan,” Carbondale Community Development Director Doug Dotson stated in a memo to town trustees last week.County officials have been holding community meetings in the various municipalities in recent months gathering citizen input to be used in its efforts to draft a new countywide comprehensive plan. In fact, Carbondale has been among the more vocal communities in that process.Likewise, Carbondale is setting up a local citizen task force to solicit public input in the town’s process. The task force is intended to include representation from different neighborhoods around town, as well as the ranching and business interests and the Latino community.”The purpose of the task force is to collect public information to bring into the process and present to the steering committee,” Dotson said at the Carbondale Town Board’s April 27 meeting.”The task force is not intended to be a group of citizens wanting to bring their own agendas forward, but rather to assist in obtaining input from local citizens and make sure the draft plan reflects what they heard from the community,” he wrote in his memo.Ben Bohmfalk, who chairs the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, said the intent is to review the goals, objectives and guidelines of the 2000 Comprehensive Plan and determine how some of those may need to be updated and modified.”A big frustration for most of us on the P&Z today is that we weren’t involved in coming up with those guidelines,” he said. “We’ve drifted so far from some of the policy guidelines, and we have some catching up to do.”Another frustration is the sometimes onerous amount of time it takes to review a land-use application and reach a decision, partly because the comprehensive plan is outdated, Bohmfalk said.”What I hope comes out of this is a detailed comprehensive plan for the future of the town, and review process that’s less confrontational and more predictable,” he said.In order to do the leg work associated with a comprehensive planning process, including coordinating community input, gathering background data and writing a final draft, P&Z suggested hiring an outside consultant.The total estimated cost to do the comprehensive plan overall is about $100,000. P&Z has recommended putting half of that toward an outside consultant, and dedicating the equivalent of a full-time town employee to cover the remainder of the work load.Trustees will consider how much to allocate for outside consultant work, and how much of the work can be handled in house.A variety of strategies are proposed to be used to engage the public in the process, including use of the Internet, a community survey, public forums and workshops, and an aggressive public relations effort.jstroud@postindependent.com

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