Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson

Master Plan

7. Implementation

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7.1 Development Framework
       7.1.1 The Land Use Code
7.2 Monitoring and Evaluation
       7.2.1 Master Plan Amendment Process
7.3 Action Plan
       7.3.1 Action Plan

The Master Plan provides the policy foundation for decisions about the County's future development. The purpose of this chapter is to establish the policy connection between the principles of the Master Plan, the Land Use Code and other actions that will carry out those principles. Strategies outlining specific provisions to be included in the Land Use Code appear throughout the Master Plan. Other types of strategies are also in the Master Plan, such as appointing an Agricultural Advisory Board and establishing Intergovernmental Agreements with service providers.

This chapter provides guidance for developing the Land Use Code as it relates to its usability for applicants, the community and neighbors in the development review process.
This chapter also establishes principles for a monitoring plan, review process and future revisions to the Master Plan. For County planning to remain proactive, it is important for principles and strategies to be reviewed on a regular schedule and amended as necessary.

Finally, it sets forth an Action Plan for implementing the Master Plan, including priorities and a schedule. Implementation is the process that gives meaning to the Master Plan. The implementation strategy should be considered as important as the Master Plan itself.

7.1 Development Framework

In the initial stages of the Partnership Land Use System (PLUS) process, during the symposia and community forums, citizens expressed concern about two types of development issues. The first set of issues relates to land use, growth and environmental protection. Principles and strategies for dealing with these concerns make up the majority of the Master Plan. The second set of issues deals with the development process. Both applicants and concerned community members have difficulties in understanding and interacting with the existing land use regulations and development review process. Many citizens stated the concern that regulations were not clearly tied to the adopted Land Use Plan. Because standards were often unclear or even contradictory, land use decisions sometimes appeared arbitrary or inconsistent.

As part of the evaluation of existing review procedures, the PLUS consultant team conducted both group and individual interviews with appointed officials, members of the private sector who are long-time "Code users" (business people, developers, planners, engineers and lawyers), citizens and County staff members responsible for administering the County's land use regulations. The interview results are reported in the Working Paper, Issues and Options: Land Use, Public Facilities, Zoning and Development Administration, April 1996, which is on file in the Planning Department. All those interviewed supported the idea that the County's land use regulations were in need of procedural reform and streamlining.

7.1.1 The Land Use Code

In the past, much of the problem regarding certainty and consistency of land use decisions has come from basic inconsistencies between the adopted Plan and the land use regulations - particularly the zoning map. This Master Plan changes the traditional pattern of land use, but without changing the gross densities of development established by current zoning. The County will use performance standards, design criteria, required levels of service and similar tools, as well as several incentive-driven alternative development patterns, to produce new development to achieve Plan goals. This makes it imperative that the Guiding Principles of the Master Plan be clearly translated into standards and criteria in a new Land Use Code.

A Land Use Code is proposed to consolidate the many documents that currently contain land use regulations and procedures. The Land Use Code needs to have a clear organizational structure and presentation that make it easy to understand and use. Graphics, diagrams and tables should be used to make the document user-friendly. The standards and criteria that will be used in reviewing a development application should be specific, understandable and consistent with the principles established in the Master Plan.

7.2 Monitoring and Evaluation

The County Master Plan provides principles for achieving a future that is perceived as being better than the future that would happen without planning - and a set of strategies that will hopefully move the County toward that future.

The concepts of monitoring progress towards the desired future and evaluating tools for implementation are integral to the Master Plan process. A well-designed monitoring and evaluation program can help the Planning Commission and County Commissioners understand both progress and setbacks in achieving the Plan principles. More importantly, the program can direct staff and decision makers towards revisions for more effective strategies. Most important, the monitoring program can provide County citizens with the means to hold the government accountable for the actions it is taking to achieve the Master Plan future.

Developing a meaningful monitoring and evaluation program is an important Plan implementation tool in itself and should have high priority among the many action items necessary to implement the Plan. Because of the potential importance of the program to the public, its development should include a high degree of public input.

The program should initially focus on key indicators and expand over time. The program should include appropriate indicators from each of the main Plan areas: Growth Management, Land Use, Facilities and Services, Transportation, Environmental Protection and Implementation. Each indicator should have the following characteristics:

  • use readily available data;
  • be measurable over time, i.e., annually;
  • provide meaningful information relating to a Plan principle;
  • be sensitive to change;
  • be easily interpreted.
The results of the monitoring and evaluation program should be presented annually in a public report to the Planning Commission for action. The report should include proposed revisions to the Master Plan, including Action Items, to promote the viability of the Master Plan and the County planning process. The Monitoring and Evaluation Report should be prepared in accordance with the County annual budget cycle, so proposed work items can be included in budget requests.

7.2.1 Master Plan Amendment Process

Three general types of Plan amendments are necessary to maintain the Master Plan as an effective guide to development. Over time, additional area land use plans and plans for Growth Management Areas and Cooperative Planning Areas will be adopted. Adoption of area land use plans, including amendments to Growth Management Area boundaries, should include extensive community input and be considered by the Planning Commission as amendments to the Master Plan at any time throughout the year.

The annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report may include proposed changes to Plan principles and implementation strategies. Review of the Report and consideration of proposed Plan amendments should also include opportunities for citizen input. These changes to Plan policy should be considered annually as part of an annual Plan Review process by the Planning Commission.

Periodically, the Planning Department should conduct a major review of Plan themes, principles and strategies. The timing of this major review effort is dependent upon the rapidity of change in the community and continued public support of the adopted Plan. Generally, a County Master Plan should receive major review every five to seven years. This major review process should be grounded in a broad-based citizen input process.

7.3 Action Plan

Implementation of the Master Plan depends on many specific actions on the part of County officials, city and town governments and private citizens over the years. The following chart describes the actions that the County should take to achieve the principles of the Plan. The list of proposed actions is not all-inclusive. Rather, it is intended to set out a realistic, achievable plan of action to begin (and continue) to implement the Master Plan systematically.

7.3.1 Action Plan

Item # Action Items Plan Reference Start Year Lead Agency Partners
Essential Elements of PLUS
1 Develop and adopt a Land Use Code which is designed to implement the Master Plan and which is streamlined, user friendly and comprehensive. The new Land Use Code will include, among others, an Environmental Review Process, Adequate Public Facilities requirements, standards for Rural Conservation Development Subdivisions, and stormwater/ water quality and performance standards for compatibility, buffering and site design. 7.1 1997 Planning Public Works
2 Develop a capital expansion fees (CEFs) program for public facilities impacted by growth and development, including consideration of CEFs for non-County facilities established via Intergovernmental Agreements. 2.3
1997 Public Works Planning
Other entities
3 Develop capital improvement programs for County-owned public facilities. 2.3
1997 Budget Office Public Works
4 Develop/revise Intergovernmental Agreements with Municipalities including a clear annexation policy and defined Growth Management Areas (GMAs), and other planning areas as appropriate, and including urban standards for GMAs compatible with those of the municipalities. 2.4 1997 Planning Cities/Towns
5 Develop a transfer of development rights program using the Fossil Creek Study Area as a model. Include criteria for sending and receiving areas, consistent with Master Plan principles. 2.5 1997 Planning Cities/Towns
Other Affected Interests
Important Implementation Programs/Projects
6 Establish a process for monitoring and evaluating Master Plan performance including indicators for Growth Management, Land Use, Public Facilities, Environmental Protection and Implementation, and an annual report to the Planning Commission. 7.2 1998 Planning Environmental
Public Works
7 Adopt a Right to Farm Resolution; determine appropriate implementation and staffing. 2.5 1997 Extension Ag Adv. Board
8 Consider creating a voluntary Agricultural District Overlay Zone to provide incentives for continued agricultural use. 2.5 1998 Planning Extension
9 Develop land use regulations or other mechanisms to protect persons, property and public investment in the Airport Influence
3.3 1998 Planning Airport
Fort Collins
10a Develop Phase 1 of an Environmental Protection System focusing on wetlands and wildlife habitat, including review of additional data needs, criteria and mitigation plan requirements for the Land Use Code, and on-going monitoring and evaluation during and after development. This project will require assistance from outside experts. 6.1
1998 Planning Environmental
Environmental Review Board (EAB)
Agriculture Advisory Board
10b Develop Phase 2 of an Environmental Protection System focusing on identifying and developing appropriate protection strategies for archaeological, cultural and aesthetic resources. 6.1
1999 Planning Parks and Open Space
Environmental Review Board
10c Develop Phase 3 of an Environmental Protection System focusing on air and water quality issues. 6.1
2000 Planning Environmental Health
Environmental Review Board (EAB)
Agriculture Advisory Board
10d Develop Phase 4 of an Environmental Protection System focusing on review of the System, additional mapping and data needs, performance standards and other Code issues and results of monitoring. 6.1 2001 Planning Environmental Health
Environmental Review Board (EAB)
Agriculture Advisory Board
11 Develop a transportation plan that includes revised functional classification for the County roadway system and a bikeway plan that serves both recreational users and commuters. 5.3 1997 Public Works Planning
Bicycle Users
12 Develop an approach to protecting water in Larimer County, including consideration of a land and water bank. 6.6
1998 TBD Agriculture Advisory Board
13 Consider adoption of the Code of the West, and if adopted, require it to be referenced in the covenants of new rural subdivisions. 3.2 1997 BCC Planning
Other Important Programs/Projects and Ongoing Activities
14 Develop recommendations for Master Plan amendments, based on the Annual Evaluation Report and other new information. 7.2 Annual Planning Citizens
Planning Commission
15 Develop/revise area plans for unincorporated communities, and cooperatively plan for Community Planning Areas and other special areas. 2.4 On-going Planning Citizens
Planning Commission
16 Develop a program including incentives to reduce use of non-certified wood stoves and fireplaces. 6.5 1998 Building .
17 Further develop concept of mobility corridors to accommodate future transportation technology, as part of County Transportation Plan. 5.2 1998 Public Works .
18 Coordinate with community based affordable housing groups to recommend strategies and incentives to provide private-sector affordable housing and changes to the Land Use Code and Building Code to eliminate barriers to providing private sector affordable housing. 2.6 On-going Community Services Planning
19 Work with the Agricultural Advisory group to consider options for providing housing for seasonal farm workers. 2.5 On-going Community Services Planning
20 Work with districts that provide service in unincorporated Larimer County to coordinate land use planning and new facilities. Consider adopting inter-governmental agreements to formalize coordination. 4.1
On-going Planning Public Works
21 Continue to coordinate with regional transportation groups to support regional transit and travel demand management programs and other regional transportation planning programs. 5.3 On-going Public Works Cities/Towns
22 Coordinate with the Economic Development Advisory Board to develop guidelines for economic development incentives consistent with the Master Plan. 2.6 On-going Employment
Training Service (ETS)

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