Comprehensive plan update still under way

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Littleton City Council offered guidance to the planning board on the city’s comprehensive plan Feb. 26, which amounted to “just git ’er done.”

“Instead of talking, we’ve got to get some action,” said Councilor Jerry Valdes. “Just write it.”

The city has been trying to update the 1981 document since 2005. Required by state law, it guides the evolution of the city and is supposed to reflect the residents’ desires. It tends to emphasize things like community character over specifics like lighting and height requirements, which are dealt with in zoning laws.

Creating it is up to the planning board, but council must ultimately approve it.

Common themes are that the South Platte River should emerge as the city’s front door, government should get out of the way of progress, Littleton should welcome diversity, and there should be an emphasis on improving major corridors and connectivity.

Councilor Phil Cernanec said the focus should be on refurbishing the city while maintaining its basic spirit.

Upon reviewing a tw0-page draft summary draft, Mayor Debbie Brinkman said: “You’re almost there. Why are we scared that it might only be three or four pages?”

But board member Mark Rudnicki said the plan still needs more meat, more flexibility and less flowery language.

Board member Andrew Graham noted that other working groups in the city are working on specifics like economic development and alternative transportation, and he’d like to see them all come together so efforts aren’t being duplicated. Board member Randy Duzan agreed, saying it could be a bottom-up effort, with the board taking the major concepts from the working groups to craft the Complan.

“It’s like a three-legged stool,” agreed Brinkman.

The board is getting four new members in the next few weeks, but the goal is to get a plan to council this summer, before council elections in November. Outgoing board member Dave Metcalf, often outspoken about his frustration with the process, was optimistic after sitting through a “visioning” session with council after the joint meeting.

“This made us all start talking the same at the 35,000-foot level,” he said. “And those are the first positive words you’ve heard from me in a long time.”

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