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Hotchkiss to update master plan in 2017

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The Town of Hotchkiss is preparing for a periodic review of its community master plan in 2017 and is hoping for public input and participation.

The Hotchkiss Community Master Plan, in part, provides a statement of community goals and objectives and an assessment of the town's needs, said Tom Wills, a trustee and lead planner on the Hotchkiss Planning Commission.

The plan addresses recreation, land use, public facilities and transportation, economic development and the downtown core, senior citizens, and tourism, as well as small town atmosphere, and community spirit.

The plan was written in 2006 following a series of planning meetings starting in 2003. It was updated in 2012 by the town planning commission and staff. Two addendums, the 2015-2020 Community Downtown Core and Highway Corridors Improvement Plan, Sidewalk and Trails Plan and subsequent Sidewalk Ordinance also came out of the last revision process, said Wills.

The master plan contains a lot of data that has to be updated on occasion, said Wills, who briefly described the process. The first step is to update "non public-input items," including updates on projects completed and steps taken since the last review process to meet the plan's goals and objectives. A good example, said Wills, is last year's sanitation line upgrade project.

The next step is to reach out to the community for input. The town plans to complete and mail out a survey to all town utility and trash billing addresses within the next two months, said Wills. The hardest part about the whole process, said Wills, who has been involved locally in planning for almost 30 years, is getting input and participation from the public. In updating the plan, "It's not supposed to be our opinion, it's supposed to be everybody's opinion."

In September the town put out a call for suggestions for questions to be included in the survey. Some input, including from the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce and Hotchkiss Fire District, has been submitted, but not much has been received from citizens, said Wills. Throughout the year there will be ample opportunity for the public to comment, said Wills. Notice of all meetings will be posted in advance.

The town also plans to simultaneously update its mobile home park regulations.

Wills asks people to get creative in their comments and questions. "What would you ask about the future of the town if you had the chance?"

Delta County is also undergoing a review of its master plan in 2017. "That the county is going through the process will be very useful to the town," said Wills. It will allow the town to understand what the county wants for the community and for the community to attend county master plan meetings.

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