The Hotchkiss Planning Commission is expected to formally adopt the town's master plan tonight, then forward it to the Hotchkiss Town Council for ratification in April.
A master plan for the town was first adopted in 2006 and has been updated periodically since. Lead planner Tom Wills, secretary of the Hotchkiss Planning Commission, organized goals and recommended actions into 10 topics: public facilities and services, economic development, downtown commercial center, recreation, small town atmosphere, land use planning, senior citizens, community spirit and tourism.
The most recent update began with a comprehensive survey conducted by paper and online, and open to any area resident. Wills noted that no dramatic improvements were made, but he did draw attention to one new action statement under public facilities and infrastructure that addresses the town's ongoing efforts to conserve energy. The town has been switching streetlights and town hall lighting to low energy LEDs, adding some passive solar water heating to the water treatment plant for filter washing, and working with DMEA to get the town's small hydro generation plant back on line.
Future goals outlined by Wills include:
• Refine/clarify the annexation policy of the town;
• Negotiate a revision of the town's intergovernmental growth management agreement with Delta County;
• Identify where senior housing could be sited and explore the options for facilitating development;
• Build an off-highway path from town to the high school;
• Build a sidewalk on Lorah Lane to connect to the Highway 92 path;
• Construct sidewalks on East Bridge/Highway 92 past Fourth Street; and
• Develop a capital improvements plan.
The master plan is an advisory document intended to be used to plan for future utility, street and public facilities in the town, as well as the annual budget process.
"As a tool, its value is only as good as the amount of use the master plan receives," the plan notes. "So please don't put it on a shelf; it is full of valuable information based on public comments, concerns and input that provides a valuable guide for the future growth and development of the town."