A great number of informed, sincere La Plata county residents, representing all sectors of our community, came to every public meeting on the comp plan and gave hours of input. Now, despite all that effort by so many, the process is being derailed by a very vocal, adversarial minority who have entered the process at his late date, and give comments like: “delete any reference to sustainability”. We feel that the Planning Commission is now summarily disregarding the informed work of the community and gutting the plan. This is not true public process.
The document sent to Planning Commission by the Community Working Group was a good document based on sound and extensive public process. It includes a lot of compromise by all sides.
The undersigned strongly encourage the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners to not destroy the hard work of the dedicated reasonable community members who want to move the County into the 21st Century.
Support Working Group Draft of La Plata County Comp Plan
A great number of informed, sincere La Plata County residents, representing all sectors of our community, came together over the last two years in collaboration with County Staff and elected officials to create the La Plata County Comprehensive Plan. Over $300,000 was spent in an effort to create a planning document that will guide the county through the next twenty years. This document addresses guiding principles, community vision, goals and strategies, future land use and implementation.
The draft comprehensive plan has been reviewed at two Planning Commission meetings. Chapters 1-4 were reviewed by the Planning Commission on June 23 and chapters 5-7 were reviewed on July 14. At each meeting the respective chapters were gutted. Additionally, consideration of the comprehensive plan did not begin until the Planning Commission finished their other agenda items, deferring consideration of the plan to after 8 pm. Public comment was not accepted until after 10 pm, discouraging public discourse.
We, the undersigned, feel that the Planning Commission is summarily disregarding and dismissing the informed work of the community. This is not true public process. The level of disrespect for the people of this county displayed by the Planning Commission cannot and will not be tolerated.
We have the following specific concerns about the Planning Commission:
First, the Planning Commission is unbalanced. It is dominated by citizens from southeastern La Plata County who subscribe to anti-government ideologies. Their reasons for deleting or rewriting the Comp Plan seem to be based solely on offending words that do not fit with their ideology. "Sustainability," "partnerships," and "support" were singled out many times for deletion. Apparently the use of these words warrant removing entire chapters, such as chapter 6 titled "Sustainable Development." If the Planning Commission continues to arbitrarily remove significant portions of County planning documents, the County could be placed into legal jeopardy.
Secondly, the Planning Commission has demonstrated an astonishing lack of understanding about the need for private/public partnerships in actions such as creating local business incubators, and the need for government to create and maintain basic infrastructure including sewers and roads.
The document sent to Planning Commission by the Community Working Group was a solid, thoughtful draft Comprehensive Plan based on a sound and extensive public process. It included compromise on all sides, and a great deal of hard work, done in good faith. To destroy it via reactive fiat betrays the very notion of representative government.
It is clear that the Planning Commission as currently constituted is incapable of making rational decisions.
We, the undersigned, therefore demand that:
1) The egregious deletions of June 23 and July 14 be declared null and void.
2) Every current Planning Commission member be dismissed by August 30, 2011, and a new Commission be appointed by September 30, 2011.
3) The BOCC present a plan for filling the Planning Commission that is balanced. This would include, but not be limited to, proportional geographic representation. Members should represent a range of occupations and concerns.
4) Demonstrable planning experience be required for Planning Commission members.
5) The document be sealed in its previous draft form, pending appointment of a new Planning Commission.