Volume No. 16 Issue No. 11 November 2019  

  County holds master plan advisory meeting
  By Lindsey Harrison

     On Oct. 1, the El Paso County Master Plan Advisory Committee held a meeting in conjunction with the EPC Planning Commission to discuss progress on the county’s master plan development process. The county hired Houseal Lavigne Associates, a professional consulting firm specializing in community planning, urban design and economic development, to help create the plan.
   Seven of the 10 members of the advisory committee attended the meeting, including Andrea Barlow, committee chair; Tom Bailey, Sarah Brittain Jack, Becky Fuller, Tim Trowbridge, Mark Volcheff and Ryan Wanner. Various members of Houseal Lavigne and EPC staff, as well as 15 members of the community also attended the meeting.
   John Houseal, Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and principal planner at Houseal Lavigne, said the planning process consists of multiple phases: project initiation and outreach; community outreach and engagement; market and demographic analysis; existing conditions analysis; vision, goals and objectives; community wide plans and policies; implementation strategies; and plan document and adoption.
   “We are at a pivotal point in the planning process,” he said. “We are in the existing conditions analysis phase, which frames the context of what is going on now.”
   The existing conditions analysis produced a report that included detailed market, economic and demographic analyses, resulting in a series of goal categories.
   Houseal said the county should focus on those goal categories, which include land use and development; economic development; housing and communities; transportation and mobility; community facilities and infrastructure; military coordination; recreation and tourism; community health; environment and natural resources; and resiliency and hazard mitigation.
    “These goals are not meant to be an exhaustive inventory of everything we can think of for El Paso County,” Houseal said. “This is just a snapshot of the existing conditions in the county right now.”
   Each goal and the priorities contained therein were created from community input, Houseal said. Based on the identified priorities, the county can then begin to formulate an action plan. After the action plan is determined, the county can begin to discuss how to financially achieve the goals, he said.
   “The master plan will never supplant the need for a more robust transportation and mobility plan or a housing plan or a parks and recreation plan,” Houseal said. “If development does not happen in a way that is planned, infrastructure growth will not be sustainable.”
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