BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
At its meeting on September 3, the CHV city council began a discussion about how it will gather information for its citywide master plan, last fully updated in 2008. Said Chris Cramer, director of community development, “The master plan is a vision, a roadmap of how we’re going to move forward. Sometimes that means change and sometimes that does not mean change.” Cramer explained that the master plan informs future city council decisions about budgets, ordinances, and specific development plans that require findings of master plan concurrence. He pointed out that it is important “because it really is led by public input.” Cramer said that the proposed structure he provided to city council for how the master plan will move throughout the process “really puts public input in the front seat.”
Cramer described a plan to use a consultant to manage the process of obtaining input from the overall CHV community on the topics of:
• Confirming the continued importance of the preservation of the community’s character.
• Exploring more multi-modal opportunities (vehicular, cycle, pedestrian, equestrian, etc.).
• Exploring transportation strategies that improve mobility for Cherry Hills Village residents, with minimal effect on cut-through traffic.
• Considering more energy efficient and sustainable policies and standards.
• Exploring policies related to an aging population.
One aspect of the needs of an aging population that the city council touched on very gingerly during its study session was the subject of CHV citizens who want to downsize and stay in CHV as they age. Council member Dan Sheldon said, “This might be a type of lifestyle that this city is missing.” Mayor Pro Tem Katy Brown said, “This would be a monumental shift for the people of CHV.” She proposed that the idea be explored only if it is generated by a grass roots initiative from the community, not city council. Everyone agreed, making it clear that it the city council does not want to get ahead of the residents on any significant policy change. Council members Al Blum and Mike Gallagher saw the master plan process as a way to garner public sentiment on the subject, but very definitely not taking any steps toward adopting a policy or plan that would potentially change the feel of CHV. Council member Randy Weil was even more cautious, warning fellow council members against a “solution without a well-defined problem.” In the end, the city council agreed on the importance of only going where its citizens lead, not the opposite.
Cramer expects to begin the process of seeking an outside consultant to begin shortly.
In nearby Greenwood Village, the city’s laws historically identified the residents, represented by the appointed planning and zoning commission, as the people who were charged with initiating changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, GV’s equivalent of the CHV master plan. That changed in the months following the November 2017 city council election when the newly elected GV city council revised its laws. Instead of starting the process with public input and ending it with city council approval, the council passed a new law that said that they could initiate changes themselves, then send them to the planning and zoning commission. Later that year the city council did just that, putting the planning and zoning commissioners in the awkward position of having to “recommend” the changes to the comprehensive plan that the elected officials had already written and informally approved.
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