Friday, November 15, 2013

P&Z wants council input on comp plan

Ketchum continues work on policy guide

Express Staff Writer

    The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday determined that it wants the City Council to start weighing in on a proposed set of updates to the city’s comprehensive plan.
    At the meeting, Planning Manager Joyce Allgaier helped explain the purpose and function of the 70-page document to the P&Z and a small audience.
    “The comprehensive plan is a policy guide, much like a guide for growth and future development in our community that includes a future land-use map,” Allgaier said. “It’s visionary, and intended to reflect the community and how we’d like to grow. It includes strategic actions, implementation steps and activities.”
    Allgaier said there was a great deal of citizen outreach conducted to get public input on changes to the plan. The P&Z held at least 10 work sessions to create the first draft put forth for a public hearing.
    “We engaged about 750 people through the whole process,” she said. “We want to make sure we are creating a strong economy to have affordable housing while keeping our small town character.”
    During the public outreach process, Allgaier said there was a lot of concern about the city’s future.
    “As the plan unfolded, the objective was to handle all challenging issues,” she said. “We tried to address issues up front, and we want to be very clear about them. There’s a big focus on community sustainability, helping the economy environment and our social setting.”
    Toward the end of the meeting, commissioners discussed holding joint meetings with the City Council to discuss the plan. However, the two panels are unlikely to be able to meet before the end of the year, with the City Council having canceled its Dec. 16 meeting.
    Commissioner Rich Fabiano said he thinks multiple meetings will be needed to thoroughly go through the plan. Commissioner Deborah Burns agreed.
    “We as a commission feel it is just as important after all this time to let the City Council show us if there is some sort of alarm or discontent where we may be able to fully explain it or go back to it,” Burns said. “A document like this is so important and it takes so much time to work on.”
    The P&Z will hold its next meeting on Dec. 9, in which it will make suggestions for revision. The City Council ultimately has the option to adopt or reject the plan.

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