Open spaces in need of plans |

Open spaces in need of plans

Jeremy Heiman

Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails board has begun discussions on how to create management plans for each of the program’s properties.

The board is required to provide a management plan for each property by a policy adopted in 1992, but a process for creating the plans has never existed. Open Space Executive Director Dale Will suggested to the Board of County Commissioners Thursday that a process similar to the one specified in the National Environmental Protection Act, involving opportunities for public comment, be adopted.

Under Will’s suggested process, Open Space staff would draft each plan and submit it to the Open Space board for approval. From that point, it would be passed to the county commissioners for approval and to the public for comments. A final plan would be written, incorporating comments from the public and the commissioners.

Management for each property will need to be different. The program has such different parcels as Jaffee Park in Woody Creek, which is used for commercial and independent boat launching and other activities, and which the program owns outright, and Seven Star outside Snowmass Village, on which the program only holds a conservation easement.

Numerous interested people could be expected to show up for a public hearing on a management plan for Jaffee Park, noted board member Rick Neiley. But discussion of a management plan for Seven Star might draw comments from no one except perhaps officials from the town of Snowmass Village, he said.

Commissioner Leslie Lamont suggested a varied process for adopting the plans, owing to the diversity of the properties.

Board member Bill Fales noted that management plans for the properties should be developed soon. The program is entering a period of aggressive property acquisition, Fales said, and prompt action on management plans is needed to keep from getting further behind.

“I think we’re just asking for trouble if we don’t get these done,” Fales said.

The boards did not adopt a management plan process Thursday.

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