Downtown Improvement Surveys Out Until End of Month
Hotchkiss Planning Commission May 23, 2012
Present: Chair- Mary Hockenbery, Mayor Wendell Koontz, Tom Wills, Chad Lloyd, Marlin McCracken and Becky Armstrong. Absent: Dustyn Foster
If all goes well, after a year and a half, the Hotchkiss Community Master Plan revision process will be finally concluding in July. At their May 23 regular meeting, after installing Mary Hockenbery as Chair and new/returning member Tom Wills (this reporter) as Vice-chair, the commission members spent almost two hours once again reviewing the revised master plan in light of comprehensive review comments submitted by Wills.
The commission had done the same thing at an April work session but three members had been absent and the one vacancy had yet to be filled. After that meeting Mayor Wendell Koontz decided to delay approval of a final draft and a public hearing until a fully staffed Commission could be present. He then appointed former trustee/commission chair, Wills, to the board at the May Town Council meeting.
The conclusions of the May review were much the same as the April one, with Wills’ update recommendations being incorporated into the revision along with several new changes suggested by Mayor Koontz and the commission members.
Wills, who was one of the writers of the original plan, was then tasked by the Mayor and commission to format the updates and changes into the revised draft for review by the commission and Town Council and the public. The revised master plan retains the same goals as the 2006 version with updates for items that have been completed or are underway.
The status of the Town‘s water and sewer systems has been updated along with demographic information and regulatory changes. At the meeting, Mayor Koontz suggested that the plan state that the Town would be proactive in obtaining more assisted/living/senior apartments since that was a concern of citizens.
Another new addition is a statement that the Planning Commission shall review the master plan at least once a year and compare its stated goals in light of recent actions by the Town. Also, the plan will be updated at least every five years if not sooner.
Tentatively a public hearing on the final revision of the Master Plan is scheduled for the June 27 regular Planning Commission meeting. Copies of the revision should be available from the Town Clerk’s office beginning in mid-June. The plan should also be available for downloading from the Town’s website: www.townofhotchkiss.com.
Those interested should read the plan and submit comments, whether in writing or in person at the public hearing. Written comments would need to be received by the Town prior to the June 27th hearing.
If comments are generally supportive of the revised document it is possible that the Plan could be adopted by the Commission on the same evening as the public hearing. In that case the Town Council would be asked to sign off on the document at their July meeting. Otherwise, the document will be revised in light of new comments, revised again, and a second public hearing before the commission would be held before final adoption.
The implementation of the master plan goal of writing a five-year Downtown and Highway Corridor Improvement Plan (DTHCIP) is still in the early stages.
Mary Hockenbery reported on the successful flower planting project, which was meant as a kickoff for the information gathering/community input phase of the project. Hockenbery, as coordinator of the plantings, continues to add planters and flowers and to monitor the condition of the plants, which are all maintained by businesses and volunteers.
The Town has received many positive comments and compliments about the flowers. Tom Wills reported that tabulation of the Downtown Improvement Survey results is underway but that the return rate has been slow and suggested that the surveys remain available to the public through the end of June. The commission members agreed.
Once the survey results are in they will be added to other public and staff input and the writing of the goal/actions part of the DTHCIP will begin based on the results.
The survey is available for downloading from the Chamber website: www.hotchkisschamber.com, or can be picked up and returned to any one of several locations around town including: Duckworks Auto Parts, First State Bank, Hotchkiss Town Hall, Creamery Arts Center or Hotchkiss Public Library or mail to Downtown Improvement/ Town of Hotchkiss PO Box 369 Hotchkiss Co. 81419.