Draft comprehensive plan presented by board

Michelle Day helps her year-old niece, Payton Napolilli, spin the firefighters’ wheel during the Inspire Littleton kickoff event, May 22 in Trailmark. Photo by Jennifer Smith
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Littleton’s planning board has released the draft of its proposed comprehensive plan and set a public hearing for Oct. 14.

“Littleton is a community that embraces its authentic small-town qualities while enjoying the advantages of a metropolitan area,” reads its introduction. “The city should continue to exemplify and promote a sustainable economy, environment and society.”

Required by state law, the comprehensive plan 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.

The city has been trying to update the 1981 document since 2005. Over the summer, it held a number of neighborhood meetings, sent out surveys and launched the Inspire Littleton website, which now has 622 participants offering ideas for how to improve the city.

“Even though each of the ideas and comments generated in the public outreach process doesn’t appear in the plan, the plan provides a framework that is intended to be consistent with and support the public comments,” said Dennis Swain, principal planner for the city. “Now that the draft plan is available, we’re asking the people who have provided ideas and comments to read the plan and let us know if we have been successful in providing a framework for their ideas and, if not, what changes should be made to be consistent with those comments.”

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

“The board has taken their charge seriously and has done a great job of maintaining a focus on providing clear direction for the city’s future,” said Swain. “Although there is always a strong temptation to complete all elements of the comprehensive plan simultaneously, the board determined that it was critical for the city that they complete the citywide plan now rather than waiting for other elements to be completed. The citywide plan will provide the direction for all of the other supporting plans.”

In the document, the planning board recommends updating existing neighborhood plans and corridor studies, as well as creating plans for neighborhoods that didn’t exist in 1981.

The draft lists three “transformative actions” that the board calls the most critical steps to achieving the city’s vision: highlighting the river, focusing on activity areas and corridors and directing Littleton’s growth.

“Each action requires a comprehensive and long-term commitment, concerted effort and collaboration between the public and private sectors,” it reads.

The draft can be reviewed at www.littletongov.org. The public hearing is Oct. 14, 7 p.m. at the Littleton Center, 2255 W. Berry Ave. Prior to that, citizens can submit comments to cdds@littletongov.org or Comprehensive Plan Comments, Community Development Department, City of Littleton, 2255 W. Berry Ave., Littleton, CO 80120.

Following the public hearing, the board members will meet again to review what they heard from the public and make a recommendation to city council. City council will hold its own public hearing on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.

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