Dillon takes small step toward revitalization
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
DILLON ” It’s time for the Town of Dillon to take a leap of faith regarding revitalization, Leland Consulting Group’s Anne Ricker said Wednesday night at the DERAC’s (Dillon Economic Revitalization Advisory Committee) presentation to the joint work session between town council and the planning and zoning commission.
DERAC member Jerry Dokken agreed.
“There’s going to be a certain amount of spontaneity,” Dokken said. “We’ll have to move ahead or we’ll be mired in another round of butcher paper.”
On Wednesday night, the town council didn’t exactly cross a huge ravine toward a complete revitalization concept, but it did take a small step. The DERAC came in with a goal of obtaining the council’s go-ahead for further research, and informal approval for four priority intiatives was obtained by the end of the two-hour meeting.
These initiatives “outline the basis of the entire development plan,” according to DERAC member Sean Gatzen. The first initiative, land acquistion/disposition policy, was presented in conjunction with a time element: four developers are looking at Dillon at this time, according to the DERAC’s report, and a process is needed to manage new development so developers feel comfortable being part of a new community.
Development interest in Dillon was news to Mayor Barbara Davis.
“I think it’s hearsay,” she said in a phone interview on Thursday. “No one has come to me.”
The second initiative ” new business incentives ” is tied to encouraging new development. The report said incentive plans have worked at City Market and Vitamin Cottage, and a more formal menu of guidelines and incentives could be part of this.
Incentives could come under the umbrella of a Business Development Group, which would help welcome and draw new business to Dillon. Gatzen said this group would dive deep to bring in strong, long-term assets.
The alignment of different town functions and organizations was included in the third initiative, and the evaluation of local housing policy constituted the fourth.
The general view of the DERAC’s intiatives wasn’t met without some skepticism from council members. Initially, Ricker said the meeting would not focus on the specifics of plan implementation, but some council member comments tended toward a more detailed overview.
Councilmember Judee Cathrall called for an appraisal of all town land and the need to “stop sidestepping the vertical zoning.”
“We need to know what we have to trade and have the political courage to talk about vertical zoning,” she said of the specifics she brought up.
Gatzen responded, saying, “We’ve talked about this, we don’t want to dive into this until we have your (council’s) approval and then we’ll formulate this and give it to you.”
Councilmember Don Parsons said the four priority initiatives were a good point of departure, but wanted a more specific timeline. He also said the potential of hiring another consultatnt ” as mentioned in the first priority initiative ” would be a very serious financial consideration for the council if realized by the DERAC in a more detailed plan.
Even among these more specific concerns, DERAC’s Terry Novak, an ex-officio member from town’s planning and zoning commission, said that the near future was important.
“Timing is critical,” Novak said. “It would be wonderful to spend three or four years on a long-term plan, but we also don’t want to lose short-term opportunities. We’re in a strong residential market but not as strong of a retail market. There’s a good chance to bring in retail based on residential.”
For Davis, the meeting was a good start.
“We don’t want the efforts of staff and the committee to go to waste,” she said.
Revitalization will be discussed again at the March 6 town council meeting. A formal resolution about the four priority initiatives will also be voted on at that time.
Lindsey Krusen can be reached at email@example.com, or at (970) 668-4620.
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