The City of Montrose adopted a new comprehensive plan on Tuesday during a regular city council meeting, paving a path for implementation that supersedes the 2008 comprehensive plan.
The city describes the comprehensive plan as a 20-year vision with a 10-year focus that helps establish community vision, offers a long-term view to guide physical growth, development and services, and acts as a guide — not a policy — for decision making on land use, development and capital improvements by the city’s leaders and planning commission.
The plan traditionally includes topics such as housing, tourism, transportation, trails and open space, economy/opportunity, the downtown area and health and environment and more, with chapters covering each topic, centered on details that follow the community vision.
For example, economy and opportunity has a guiding principle of facilitating and incentivizing business growth and development, quality jobs, educational opportunities and tourist assets, encouraging businesses and residents to call Montrose home. For downtown, the principle includes maximizing opportunities for businesses and enhancing the residents’ quality of life while maintaining the history and character of downtown Montrose.
The city began work on the new plan in 2019, with the plan advisory committee eventually welcoming more than 1,000 comments from the public on the interactive maps throughout the process, among other collaborative efforts between the committee, city council and the public (there were 15 public meetings in 2019-2020).
“This is an important moment in the history of the city,” Assistant City Manager Ann Morgenthaler said as she presented a presentation of the comprehensive plan to the planning commission last week.
The adoption of a new comprehensive plan comes three years after the recommended timeline (new master plans are recommended to be developed every 10 years) and at a time when development of homes, public infrastructure, as well as interest in business owners and developers from coming to Montrose, is rampant.
Woods Crossing, Basecamp Subdivision, and HUB at Montrose Crossing, to name a few, are housing developments in the area (in locations like Bear Creek, homes are being built, too) and entrepreneurs seek to make Montrose home — the downtown area has seen a flurry of new businesses, and much larger enterprises, like Hobby Lobby and Discount Tire, have enacted plans to move to Montrose.
The plan also comes shortly after the city and Montrose County announced an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for a traffic signal at Chipeta Road and U.S. 550, long considered a dangerous intersection by local residents, that projects to improve traffic in that area (City Engineer Scott Murphy pointed to crash data that came in at slightly above what is usually seen at an intersection with similar traffic volume).
The city’s 2008 comprehensive plan has come to the forefront in the past several months, with the topic of zoning becoming popular, during virtual public meetings as developers brought forth project plans. Most notably, the plan was referenced multiple times during public planning commission meetings regarding the HUB at Montrose Crossing. It was referenced again during the planning commission meeting on May 26, during public comment, with the public arguing specific project details with Woods Crossing don’t follow guiding principles in the 2008 comprehensive plan.
Those critical of the HUB said the project’s original layout didn’t follow the city’s 2008 comprehensive plan. The planning commission eventually agreed, specifically with the project’s density, and approved the project with conditions, citing specific chapters in the plan for their reasoning.
The first comprehensive plan — on record — from the city was formed in 1961. There was another in 1978, 1998, and the most recent one, completed in 2008 (there were map updates in 2012 and 2016 for the 2008 comprehensive plan).
The city released the new plan’s vision statement, developed by the advisory committee after hearing community feedback:
“Montrose will strive to be a healthy, safe and thriving community that embraces diversity and environment. We will come together to grow responsibly to create opportunities for us all.
To view more details about the formulation of the plan, visit cityofmontrose.org/708/Comprehensive-Plan.
Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press