Commissioners: Master plan goes beyond comfort level |

Commissioners: Master plan goes beyond comfort level

Jane Reuter

SILVERTHORNE<Summit County Commissioners think the Lower Blue Planning Commission may have gotten carried away with county code changes that strengthen the enforceability of master plans.The commissioners again discussed this week the proposed updated Lower Blue Master Plan.In late March, the county commissioners voted to continue their consideration of the plan to May 27; Commissioner Gary Lindstrom said he had no concerns with the plan, but Commissioners Tom Long and Bill Wallace said then it is too restrictive.Their opinions don’t appear to have changed.The proposed plan includes several mandatory provisions that, among other things, prohibit golf courses and downhill ski areas, require sensitive site design and require new development to minimize disturbance to environmentally sensitive areas.The plan’s stronger language, said county Community Development Director Steve Hill, come from 1998 county development code changes that state developments can have mandatory and advisory provisions. Previously, master plans were considered guidelines only.”This is relatively new in the state and country,” said county attorney Jeff Huntley. “I think it goes to some extent beyond where you’re comfortable.””Way beyond,” agreed Commissioner Bill Wallace. “I guess I’m just not ready for this huge leap from 1998 to now. It just drives me nuts to read that to the extent practicable, you can’t build anywhere.”County planner Mark Truckey, who has worked on the Lower Blue plan for more than two years, said that wasn’t the intent. The idea, he said, “is to try to get people to tuck development into forested areas as much as possible.””Yes, depending on how you interpret it, you may say this bans development,” Truckey said. “That was never the intent. It’s got to be based on the reality of the situation. If someone’s got a sage meadow, (tucking development) is not going to happen.”Attorney Huntley agreed, but reminded the commissioners, “You guys still have the ultimate authority.”Lower Blue Planning Commissioner Jeff Leigh said the planning commission decided Thursday at its regular meeting to go to the May 2 worksession with an open mind.”We’re going to go listen to them and see what happens,” he said, “just hear them out and decide whether we want to reach a middle ground or not.”I think we’re all tired of dancing with it. We’d like to see some closure. I’m not sure it’s life-or-death issues either way. I think the plan will work even if it is tweaked a little bit.”After the May 2 worksession, Leigh said, the Lower Blue commissioners will have another public meeting to decide if the plan should be amended.Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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