Comp Plan update
The town of Carbondale hired a consulting firm to review our 2013 Comprehensive Plan. Every town is required by the state of Colorado to have a “Comp Plan.” A town’s Comp Plan states the goals of the community in terms of how things look, where things are, and what “quality of life” means to us. This kind of document is intended to be a guide for a town’s elected officials in terms of planning, policies and rulemaking. Lots of surveys and meetings have taken place over the last few months.
I checked with the Town Planning department and found that the town’s Board of Trustees has not been involved in the process. The trustees will not see the proposed plan until it is essentially completed. They will then review and vote to approve. This timing is interesting because there is an election in just a few months and the make-up of the board will change. The new board may have some different ideas about our community and want to consider some of the conclusions and recommendations that will be in the new plan.
It is a great concern of mine that the world that Carbondale is a part of is changing rapidly. Even this morning I am reading an article titled “Scientists Issue Dire Warning: Chemical Pollution now Exceeds Safe Planetary Limit.” In my view, neither Carbondale nor the valley as a whole have really taken stock of these changes. Nor have they sufficiently incorporated that information into their policies.
Consequently, I think it may be wise for the current board to postpone the final vote just a couple of months for the incoming board to review. For example, there is reason to believe that the new board might put more emphasis on the Carbondale Environmental Bill of Rights (EBOR). The EBOR has its nexus in the Town Mission Statement and was a collaborative effort between the Board of Trustees, the Environmental Board and multiple public meetings. It was signed into a resolution by Mayor Dan Richardson. There is no apparent urgency to finalize this Comp Plan. Why not give it a fresh look?
Taking the lead
I was scared. I was working at the command post of the Grizzly Creek Fire as ash was falling on me and the people and vehicles around me. I will never forget the fear of waiting for the wind to change and wondering what I would do if my family and I had to evacuate our home.
The summer of 2020 was the start of my career as a public information officer, working with state, local and federal agencies and incident management teams on wildland fires. This past year, I encountered many displaced people and disrupted lives while working all summer on megafires in Colorado, Oregon and California.
My experience has convinced me that we must invest in community resiliency, including steps to become fire adapted communities. In wildfire-prone areas, fire adapted communities reduce the potential for loss of human life and injury, minimize danger to homes and infrastructure and reduce firefighting costs by taking necessary steps to prepare people and property before a wildfire occurs.
We are still dealing with the aftermath of the Grizzly Creek Fire. We no longer have a “fire season,” fires happen year-round. The recent devastation in the Boulder area, where fire destroyed over 1,000 structures in just half a day, occurred mid-winter.
To become a fire resilient community, we must work on infrastructure improvements, including water infrastructure to keep water flowing to our farms, ranches, and communities, and emergency response strategies such as evacuation routes and upgraded community shelters. We must also invest in our human infrastructure, including our CDOT state workers, fire districts and communication systems that reach everyone in our community.
We need leadership that understands our rural community and will fight for us at the state capitol to make sure we have the resources we need. Now more than ever, we need elected officials that will ensure that no matter what we look like, where we come from or what’s in our wallets, we have what we need to take care of our families.
A big thank-you to the anonymous donor for the land in Carbondale. As a town, we are growing and changing fast! And these properties will buy us time to keep our community — plus all the people who keep it real — intact. Let’s make sure the powers that be (town council/staff) don’t get cartoon dollar signs in their eyes and build more stuff we don’t need, like antiquated shopping malls or part-time residences.
P.S. please check out Mana’s great new spot next to Tortilleria La Roca.
Thank you to the hard working town road crews who are plowing our streets and doing the chopping up of ice so our streets are safe. Bravo!
Cat crouched in shadows
Shiny eyes and pointy ears
Poised to ambush me