Fifth revision tied to One Valley Prosperity Project
By Crystal Kotowski
The Board of Gunnison County Commissioners first adopted the Gunnison County Strategic Plan in May 2008 and have updated the plan every two years. The development of the original plan occurred within the context of a countywide performance management initiative called “Managing for Results.” This year, the One Valley Prosperity Project OVPP has deeply informed the plan.
Gunnison County commissioners looked at the latest rendition Tuesday, March 14 and county commissioner John Messner noted that they made no significant changes to the plan. “We went through each strategic goal and heard from the staff. The county commissioners were supportive of the strategic plan and saw it as a clear reflection from the strategic planning retreat,” he said. That retreat was held in February of this year.
The few revisions signify, in many areas, a continuation and expansion of strategies from 2015, as well as the incorporation of findings from the (OVPP) strategy. The Board of County Commissioners identified 20 total strategic results in their plan, and of those 16 are directly related to the OVPP strategy, according to county community development director Cathie Pagano.
The eight-page document is divided into thematic strategic results that reflect the OVPP strategy, including Ensure Sound Infrastructure; Protect the Environment; Promote Prosperous, Collaborative and Healthy Communities; and Deliver High-Quality Services.
Ensuring sound infrastructure
Maintenance for county roads, a funding stream for infrastructure needs, and the regional airport are the foci of infrastructure in the plan.
The most significant change in the Ensure Sound Infrastructure section is the inclusion of the Gunnison Crested Butte Regional Airport Terminal Renovation Project, which will begin in 2021. The airport is also included in the Prosperous, Collaborative and Healthy Communities section, with strategies focused on enhancing its aviation services and increasing its economic impact to the community, which were both included in the 2015 plan.
The OVPP identified the objective of increasing the amount and reliability of air traffic in and out of the airport.
Protecting the environment
Regarding environmental protection, the plan focuses on energy efficiency, the conversion of the county vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas, and conserving private ranchland. The 2012 plan sets a baseline of 8,500 acres of conserved ranchland in the county, and the 2017 revisions increase the goal by an additional 10,200 acres by December 31, 2018 from the baseline.
The 2015 plan strategizes a plan to convert the county fleet to compressed natural gas, and the latest plan details the conversion of 26 fleet vehicles to CNG by 2019.
Further, the 2015 plan sought a 10 percent energy savings in county facilities in each year until 2017, and the recent revisions carry the goal until 2022.
The latest revisions also add a new section to Environmental Protection—planning for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, as well as reducing energy use impacts as a whole.
Spanning the different themes, one of the OVPP’s economic resiliency objectives is to guide new development in the Gunnison Valley to strategic locations to promote efficient development patterns and walkable communities and neighborhoods, while maintaining ranchlands, natural areas, and community character.
Promoting prosperous, collaborative and healthy
Sustainable tourism and outdoor recreation, suicide prevention, family health, broadband internet, and housing are among the strategies listed in the Promoting Prosperous, Collaborative and Healthy Communities section. The plan integrates many OVPP objectives. It seeks to maintain a permanent supply of high-quality affordable housing in the Gunnison Valley while ensuring the regulatory environment that will support and enable such development. A further objective is reducing household vulnerability to high winter heating bills.
The 2017 revisions for collaborative communities include county facilitation of the construction of 200 new affordable housing units. Affordable housing was not included the 2015 plan.
The OVPP outlined many community health objectives, particularly enhancing and supporting emotional and physical health by reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors, increasing the percentage of youth who feel connected to the community and improving community awareness about available health services.
The OVPP’s first Sustainable Tourism and Recreation goal is to ensure that the valley’s tourism sector of the economy is year-round and vibrant and supports community values. To achieve the goal, the OVPP strategizes the development of an organizational structure dedicated to implementing priority projects and maintaining focus on aligning tourism and recreation and development with natural resource management.
Delivering high-quality services
The main services of focus in the plan are land use and planning, disaster recovery, and juvenile protection.
The recent revisions continue the 2015 goal of ensuring redundant broadband internet infrastructure in the Gunnison Valley, expanding the infrastructure to include telecommunications. The OVPP also informed this revision.
An addition in the Services section of the plan strategizes the review of the Gunnison County Land Use Resolution. The plan articulates that it will be reviewed to “ensure regulations are streamlined and efficient, reducing any unnecessary barriers while promoting health, safety, general welfare and the environment.”
While the 2015 plan called for county services in the event of a natural disaster, the latest revisions strategize the creation of a Disaster Recovery Plan by 2018.
See the complete plan at www.gunnisoncounty.org/172/Strategic-Planning.