Ag emerges as top planning issue

By Hank Lohmeyer


The first round of public input on the county master plan rewrite has found that agriculture is a top issue among all demographics and across all areas of the county.

Also, according to Erica Weeks of planning consultancy RPI, "People like not having zoning."

She delivered results to members of the county planning commission on July 26.

Planners with RPI of Durango will compile results from the round of "visioning workshops" and public input offered through a planning website. A report will begin to be drafted on the comments, said Gabe Preston, principal of RPI during a video conference with county planning officials.

Though Preston said public participation has been good, county planning commission members noted that fewer than 600 county residents out of a population of some 30,000 have made comments.

Also noted was the finding that the North Fork Valley appears to be overrepresented in the tallies, while comments from the other county areas are underrepresented. Some suggested also that more effort needs to be made to get younger age groups to participate.

Elyse Casselberry, county development director, asked members of the planning commission and area planning committees to help gather more comments for a second round of public input. Setting up tables or booths at public gatherings, events, schools and other sites was suggested.

The master plan rewrite will begin moving onto the second phase, which is goal setting. The rewrite is intended to eventually create a "road map" for eventually implementing master plan prescriptions by county ordinance.

Details of the plan process and findings are available on the county website: deltacounty.com.