City Begins Year-Long Update Process For Guiding Plan

240419 City Plan 01, 04 - Wheat Ridge kicked off a year-long review process for a new comprehensive plan at a Tuesday, April 16, open house in the city recreation center. The new plan, an important growth-related document, is due to be adopted by the city council next spring. Photo by Jesse Johnson/City of Wheat Ridge

A lengthy update process for a key guiding document in Wheat Ridge began with an April open house. At the end of the approximately 12 months, a new comprehensive plan will help city leaders and residents determine its direction through the next two decades.

According to the city website, the Envision Wheat Ridge comprehensive plan was adopted in 2009 to establish the city’s vision and direction through 2035.

Wheat Ridge is updating that document with a “city plan” to detail the community’s vision through 2045.

Senior Planner Ella Stueve said while comprehensive plans cover two decades, updating them about every 15 years is customary.

“Much of what was identified in Envision Wheat Ridge has either been implemented or was determined to not be quite relevant,” Stueve added.

A comprehensive plan describes the vision of what a community wants to become and the steps needed to reach that vision. It also provides direction on issues such as land use, how people get around, access to housing and supporting the local economy.

The plan provides guidance and direction to property owners, residents, elected and appointed officials, city staff and local leaders.

The project timeline calls for four phases to wrap up in the spring of 2025 with the city council’s adoption of the city plan.

Stueve said the city recently completed its series of neighborhood Let’s Talk resident engagement program meetings, “so it was time to update the plan.”

The update process will include any relevant changes or new requirements of local governments from the state legislature.

“We don’t want to adopt a new plan and then find out there were some new things we should have included,” Stueve stated. “So we want to be consistent with any new bills.”

Since Wheat Ridge cannot expand through annexation, Stueve said other issues will likely dominate the discussions.

“We can look at land use within our boundaries and what people would like to see there,” she said. “There’s also building designs and zoning changes, resident mobility, too.”

Stueve also said some plan recommendations may be similar to the existing plan, “building on what’s going on now but not necessarily superseding them.”

Ashley Holland, the city’s neighborhood engagement specialist, said public input for the city plan can be in-person or online.

“We may go out to some public events and have a table to talk to the community,” she added.

An April 16 open house at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center welcomed around 120 people, Holland said. Comments can be made through an online survey until Friday, May 3. A meeting video will be shown on the city’s cable TV channel, Channel 8, and its YouTube channel.
Holland noted people can also sign up to be Neighborhood Champions and serve as a local plan update contact for their neighbors. The city can provide yard signs promoting the project upon request.

240419 02, 03 – Over 100 people attended a Tuesday, April 16, open house in Wheat Ridge Recreation Center to learn about and comment on a new comprehensive plan. The event began a year-long review and development process for the plan, which plays a major role in how the city grows and what its residents want to see happen through the next two decades. Photo by Jesse Johnson/City of Wheat Ridge

Among the questions and issues city staff want to hear about are: what people are most proud of about Wheat Ridge, what excites them about the city today, their vision of its future and what the city might be like in 2040-45.

Holland and Stueve noted Let’s Talk meetings resulted in a long list of citizens interested in city matters, so they expected many comments.

Holland added the city has about 3,000 people signed up for project and citywide email newsletters. Stueve said as of early April, about 230 people had signed up for city plan project updates.

A second open house is scheduled for Thursday, June 6, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the city recreation center, 4005 Kipling St. Another online survey will be available through late June.

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