At their Feb. 28 meeting at the county courthouse, members of Delta County Planning Commission began a page-by-page discussion of the review draft of the Master Plan update, prepared by Delta County staff and RPI Consulting.
Elyse Casselberry, county community and economic development director, and Gabe Preston of RPI Consulting presented the report's pages on screen, and spoke of the background information on those pages, as the discussion progressed.
Bob Stechert, chairman of the planning commission, facilitated the discussion among his fellow members. The discussion was informed and evidenced serious commitment by the members of the planning commission to the matters under consideration in the Master Plan update. In several cases commissioners requested fine tuning of wording, and suggested broader representation of participation.
Interested community members attended and commented also.
The section entitled "Desired Future Conditions" drew considerable discussion, including the five bullet points identifying those desired future conditions.
Concerns were expressed in regard to "protecting existing residential property," "making clear existing ag operation has protection," "protecting existing home owners' property values," "the old master plan was very specific" and "this is a regulatory document."
The word "zoning" was mentioned, and Kelly Yeager, the county's contract planner, noted that Delta County is one of the last counties in the state to adopt zoning as a means of accomplishing compatibility.
The commissioners agreed that they needed to spend more time discussing this particular section.
Casselberry responded, "We are talking about areas of complicated conflict, and we need to find balance between the uses in these areas of conflict.
"Kelly, Gabe and I will get together this week and address the points of conflict you have addressed. We will work on the language, and include matters concerning design, material, limitation on use, and a zoning map."
The staff will bring back proposed changes to the planning commissioners at their March 7 meeting. That meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., at the Maloney House on the fairgrounds in Hotchkiss.
The review draft for the Master Plan update states: "The vision of the master plan update is to promote prosperity in Delta County for present and future generations through stewardship of the county's resources, and thoughtful, predictable land use regulations. The county will foster a culture that upholds the values of community, quality of life, and respectful, neighborly communication."
For over a year the planning commission held area meetings in Delta, Hotchkiss and Cedaredge in efforts to reach people throughout the county, which included meetings with students at all four high schools. Information was gathered through public work sessions with private sector business owners and experts, leaders representing agricultural interests, individuals with knowledge about water law and water use, and natural resources experts.
Comments through the internet were received.
Knowledge was also gathered from county officials, representing a wide variety of responsibilities, including roads and bridges, taxation, health and human services, and law enforcement.
Members of the Delta County Planning Commission are: Tate Locke, Upper Surface Creek Area; Angela Mackey, at-large; Kim Shay, at-large; Layne Brones, Upper Surface Creek Area; Jennifer Sanborn, Paonia Area; Tony Prendergast, Crawford Area; chairman Bob Steckert, Leroux Creek area; Steve Shea, Delta area; and Steve Schrock, Delta area.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.