Usually the only time people think much about zoning is when it is too late, after major developments have already been approved, or a dreamed-of addition is already denied by the county. However …
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Usually the only time people think much about zoning is when it is too late, after major developments have already been approved, or a dreamed-of addition is already denied by the county.
However right now Jefferson County is asking its residents to participate in a feedback survey concerning an update process for Jeffco’s Comprehensive Master Plan, to have a say about zoning before problems arise.
The survey will help the county plan and prioritize its future development.
“These are your neighborhoods,” said Heather Gutherless, Jeffco’s senior planner in the planning and zoning division. “What would you like to see there?”
Jeffco’s Comprehensive Master Plan is a vision for the county’s future development that applies to unincorporated areas where the county has land use authority. It serves as a guide for the county’s staff, planning commission and Board of County Commissioners to help them make informed decisions on land use proposals such as rezoning, special use and site approval cases.
It’s mostly concerning land use, Gutherless said.
“Things change” in Jefferson County, she added, “and we want to keep it up-to-date.”
Jefferson County is a diverse community, said Jeremy Fleming, the county’s community relations manager. Located on the westernmost edge of the Denver-metro area, it boasts mountain and plains environments with both bustling cities and smaller communities in the foothills.
There are eight areas part of the Comprehensive Master Plan, subdivided as follows: North Plains, Central Plains, South Plains, North Mountains, Central Mountains, Indian Hills, Evergreen Area and Conifer/285 Corridor.
“Each area plan is unique to its location in the county,” Fleming said. “People are asked to provide feedback on what areas matter most to them.”
The public’s responses are one of four datapoints that will be gathered in the update process, Gutherless said. The other three considerations are how old each area plan is, areas where there’s a lot of development pressure and projects from other county divisions.
For example, a current project in the Transportation and Engineering division is creating a minor arterial roadway on McIntyre Street, north of Golden. This entails having two motor vehicles lanes in each direction with bike lanes and a pedestrian-friendly sidewalk, said Jeanie Rossillon, Jeffco’s director of development and transportation. The stretch from 44th to 52nd avenues was completed about two years ago, and the stretch from 52nd to 60th avenue started in July and will continue for the next couple of years, Rossillon said.
“North Jefferson County is developing rapidly,” she added. “It’s important for people to have a good transportation network.”
Jeffco Open Space, another division of the county, has been working on its Conservation Greenprint for the past six-to-eight months, said Andy Scanlan, the planning and projects manager for Jeffco Open Space. This document addresses challenges the division faces, opportunities to address the challenges, strategies to implement the opportunities and the desired results.
“When people want to recreate, the entire Denver-metro area typically looks towards the mountains and heads west,” Scanlan said. “Our Open Space parks are the first place people reach for the outdoor experience.”
Catering to not only the 560,000 Jeffco residents, but also the three million people living in the Denver-metro area, is a challenge that Open Space faces, Scanlan said. To address this, the division has come up with key initiatives that align with its mission of preserving, protecting and providing parklands, natural resources and nature-based experiences. These initiatives include figuring out ways for additional land acquisition, expanding visitor management practices and promoting education and stewardship among visitors.
The current Comprehensive Master Plan was adopted in 2010 and it was revised for clarity in 2012, Gutherless said. The goal is to update the Comprehensive Master Plan about every 10 years or so, she added.
“The survey is a great way (for residents) to help the county prioritize development in different areas of the county,” Fleming said. “It’s an opportunity for people to provide feedback and be a part of the future of Jefferson County.”
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