Summit County officials prepare to update comprehensive plan for the first time in 12 years
Summit County community members will soon have the opportunity to influence local policies with an upcoming review of the county’s comprehensive and basin master plans.
Over the next two years, the county plans to consolidate and update its Countywide Comprehensive Plan and four master plans, which represent Lower Blue, Snake River, Tenmile and Upper Blue basins. The plans are guiding documents for county governance at all levels, and the last time they were updated significantly was 2009, County Planner Jim Curnutte said.
The county is in the very early stages of updating and consolidating the plans, having just released a request for proposals from consultant firms on March 18. But the community will have plenty of opportunities to share thoughts on how the final plan should address issues like housing, transportation, traffic and climate change once those consultants get started.
“The goal is to refresh those documents and the way we do that, of course, is to engage with the community,” Curnutte said. “So we’ll be laying out a very extensive public engagement effort.”
The chosen consultants will help county planners connect with community members and weave the public’s comments into a comprehensive plan. The public should expect the opportunity to share their thoughts through public meetings, webinars, surveys and more, Curnutte said.
The request for proposals document highlights eight important issues the updated plan should address: growth management, housing availability and affordability, economic resiliency, transportation and traffic, preservation of natural resources, environmental hazards like wildfires, sustainability and climate adaptation.
“(The plans) really establish the vision and the goals of the community for the future,” Curnutte said. “So we’re wanting to know where people want to see Summit County go into the future.”
County officials expect the updated plan to consolidate the four basin master plans into one document with the comprehensive plan, providing clear direction for county leaders on land use, county planning and economic diversification for the next 20 years, the request for proposals said.
The consultants will also include an implementation strategy that provide measurable goals for the county to complete over time.
“That might manifest itself in various ways,” Curnutte said. “It could be code amendments to streamline our affordable housing development code sections or strengthen our environmental protection regulations.”
The county commissioners approved just over $200,000 for the project in the 2022 budget, Curnutte said. That cost may change as the county receives bids from consulting firms, who will be able to give county officials a better sense of what the project will entail.
County Commissioner Josh Blanchard said he’s excited to hear from members of the community about their visions for the plans. The commissioner said he hopes to include more diverse voices this time around so that the plan reflects all parts of Summit County.
“The Countywide Comprehensive Plan should be a vision for the overall character of our community,” Blanchard said. “ … The process really requires public engagement and community involvement. We need to hear the diverse voices that really have a say in what Summit County looks like.”
Currently, there is no timeline for the project. The consultant firm will also be tasked with identifying a deadline. However, Curnutte expects it to take around 18 months to gather community feedback and develop the new plan.
The county is collecting bids from consultant firms through 4 p.m. on April 29. Once a consultant is chosen, county officials will start the process of actually reviewing the plan.
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