Hotchkiss launches master plan update

By Tamie Meck


The planning commission and the town council for Hotchkiss have launched a master plan update process, and the community is invited to weigh in on the future development of the town.

Everyone in the greater Hotchkiss community -- not just town proper -- are invited to fill out one of the eight-page surveys. Information gathered from the surveys will give direction to the council, planning commission and town staff for the next 5-10 years. The survey seeks residents' opinions on business and residential development, infrastructure, public safety, and economic development. The survey also asks residents if they would consider a sales tax increase or financial incentives for incoming businesses.

The updated plan will also include future planning to include the Downtown Development, Highway Corridor Improvement plan and the Hotchkiss Sidewalks, Trails & Parks plan. The existing master plan was drafted in 2006 and was last updated in 2012.

"Our master plan will coincide with the new master plan in progress for Delta County, and also incorporate plans from the county fairgrounds, North Fork Pool, Park & Recreation District, community schools, chamber of commerce, volunteer fire department, and others. All these entities are stakeholders in our community and have an opportunity to provide input and direction. Hotchkiss business owners and all the residents in the surrounding areas should take this opportunity to provide their input," said Mayor Wendell Koontz.

He said the goal is to have the master plan updated by the first quarter of 2018. The council is giving residents until the end of July to return the surveys to the town hall, so that staff and the planning commission can have several months to draft the updates.

Citing financial constraints, the town is electing not to mail out the survey to residents. As trustee Tom Wills explained, it would have cost the town about $800 to mail the survey, a cost they weren't comfortable with. Instead, trustees will have blank copies of the survey available as they attend other meetings. Surveys will be distributed at community events, including the sheep dog trials in May and a craft fair in June. The planning commission will have the surveys at an open house it plans to host at the end of April. A PDF of the survey will be posted on the town's website, www.TownOfHotchkiss.com, and on the town's Facebook page. Surveys are also available at the town hall.

"I'm excited about getting this kicked off. Within a year we'd like to have a revised master plan adopted," Mayor Koontz said.