Town of Snowmass adopts its comprehensive plan
January 22, 2019
The culmination of countless communal events, $180,000 and more than 60 meetings between Town Council and the planning commission combined is now officially known as Snowmass' 200-page comprehensive plan.
After about two and a half years of discussion at the council level, the elected officials at a meeting in late December unanimously adopted the plan, which is intended to help guide the town with future growth, policies, land-use development and funding.
"I feel like confetti should fall from the ceiling," Town councilwoman Alyssa Shenk quipped shortly after the 4-0 vote. Snowmass town councilman Bob Sirkus was absent.
Town Manager Clint Kinney said at the meeting that an "untold number of opportunities for public input" took place throughout the process, including the five-day Planapalooza event and stakeholder meetings with local business owners, residents and advisory board members.
"The best part of that is that I think we listened," Kinney said.
Consequently, a number of concepts outlined in the early stages of the plan were later modified, enhanced, or altogether eliminated.
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Community values became clear throughout the process; for the council, sustainability remains a top goal, while the community pointed to "conservation and environmental stewardship" as priorities, Kinney said.
He said these principles must steer future decisions to ensure that development is controlled, protective of the natural environment and allows Snowmass to maintain its small-town character.
A related and critical component of the comp plan revisits the phrase "just big enough," which is a concept as well as an economic analysis.
The first few pages of the plan outline its history and meaning: "The inception for the 'just big enough' economic analysis in Snowmass Village was originally developed during the preparation of the 2010 comprehensive plan. The fundamentals of the original economic analysis were associated with the (2004) Base Village approval."
Put simply, Kinney said during the meeting, "Growth for growth's sake is not OK."
The executive summary of the plan states, "Every development proposal and strategic initiative" should align with this idea.
Kinney said the town and community should be proud of the plan, which is "truly reflective of what Snowmass Village ought to be thinking about."
The town of Snowmass contracted the Franklin, a Tennessee-based Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative LLC, in 2016 to help rewrite the comp plan, which can be viewed in full at http://www.tosv.com.
All told, the town spent $179,932 of the total $200,000 budgeted amount, according to town documents.
Asked what the town intends to do with the extra $20,000, town spokesman Travis Elliot wrote via email Jan. 22, "We're going to hold on to these funds for now to finish paying any (to be determined) project costs."
The discussion among council at the meeting was minimal. Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler and town councilman Bill Madsen asked about the town's current policy of updating its comp plan every two years, which Kinney said it would look into revising.
"We all didn't get everything we wanted," Butler said, "but boy, we sure did come together and agree to compromise on a variety of issues that only make Snowmass not only great like it is today, but better in the future."
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