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County adopts Land Use Plan

'Guiding document' created to ensure residents have voice

By RYAN SHERIDAN

Daily Press writer

The Moffat County Commissioners have adopted a plan that will give Moffat County residents a say in how public lands are managed in our area.

At Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, the commissioners adopted Resolution 2001-47, the amendments to Chapter One of the Moffat County Land Use Plan, which concentrate on the management of county, state and federal lands that lie within Moffat County.

The plan is a product of a public process that encompassed three county tours, one special interest group meeting, four public meetings, three open houses, three informational meetings, a survey of 2,800 landowners, and hours of processing and implementing all the information and input gathered. In all, 3,779 residents participated in the public process that helped craft the direction and language of this Land Use Plan Amendment.

“This is an update of our previous plan. This update gives the county’s citizens a voice, by and through the local government, on how the county and public lands are to be managed,” said Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson. “This plan sets out the goals, positions and how to get there. We’ll ask the federal government now to implement that. We’ve got how we want to get these ideas accomplished. We didn’t have that in the prior plan, and now it’s clear to the federal government what we want to preserve and protect our economic stability, our custom and culture and our environment.”

Their are 14 sections in the plan, ranging from custom and culture to access to water resources.

Each section of the plan has four segments: A description of what the issue is, background that explains how the topic was traditionally handled, a segment that lays out the county’s stance, and a segment that recommends action and lays out the steps to accomplish the stated goal.

“We combined extensive public input and [Moffat County Land Use] board participation to create this document,” said Moffat County Natural Resources Department Director Jeff Comstock. “That’s important to us because when we walk into the offices of a federal land management agency and agree or disagree with them, we’ll have firm ground to stand on. We can be confident that when we make recommendations to agencies, we are truly representing what our citizens want.”

The document also contains nine pages of the statutes, acts and regulations that authorize a county to participate in land management decisions within its borders.

“This general guiding document was created by the Land Use Board, put to the public, and adopted by the County Commissioners,” Comstock said.

“It is a dynamic and everchanging document; a section or language can be changed as times change. Any change will go through another public process to make sure we have represented what the residents want accurately,” Comstock said. “A common theme we came across in this process was support of Moffat County’s custom and culture, and our economic base.

“With this document, we really represent how residents want the public lands managed, and much of that is defined by multiple use of public lands.”

The section of the plan dealing with wilderness designations will be released for public comment next week. This section was handled separately so the controversial nature of the issue didn’t slow the entire process of creating this plan, Comstock said.

For more information or a copy of Chapter One of the Land Use Plan amendment, call the Natural Resources Department at 824-9180 or visit their Web site at: http://www.co.moffat.co.us/Natural Resources.

In other business, the board:

Finalized the 40-hour work week, biweekly pay system for Moffat County employees. The revised work week and compensation plan will begin Nov. 1.

Approved a proclamation declaring the month of October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Moffat County.

Held a discussion on concerning courthouse safety improvements with Emergency Services Manager Clyde Anderson, Moffat County Maintenance Department Director Kelvin Steele and Aaron Herman, safety administrator for the combined courts of Moffat, Routt and Grand counties.