LIMIT GROWTH, PROTECT RURAL DOUGLAS COUNTY AND PRESERVE OUR PRECIOUS WATER

  • by: Margo K
  • target: Rural and affected residents of Douglas County, Colorado

REQUEST FOR INCLUSIONS IN THE DOUGLAS COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN OF 2040

81 Percent of Douglas County Residents responding to a 2017 citizen survey agree Douglas County is growing too fast. The Douglas County Comprehensive Master Plan 2040 revision is a rare opportunity for Douglas County Residents and others to codify that perspective and inform elected representatives and government officials of their desires for Douglas County's Future.

This petition is our opening salvo. It will ensure our collective voices are heard. Operating from four principles, we will request that Douglas County Affirm, Strengthen, Clarify or Remove sections of CMP 2035 to make CMP 2040 a more compelling and enforceable vision for Douglas County.

THE FOUR PRINCIPLES ARE:

Limit growth and development to specific rates.  A March 2018 Douglas County Demographic Summary estimated the county population at 346,000, a 2.9% increase over the previous year,  and permits issued for new housing units in Douglas County increased 8.1% compared to the number issued in 2016, with 3,956 housing units permitted in 2017.   According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2010 and 2016, the population of Douglas County increased 15%.  A Douglas County Transportation Master Plan estimates the population in 2040 at almost half a million.  It is time to take a break on development and density

Protect and preserve rural communities as a specific element of the CMP.  In 2016-2017, Franktown residents successfully fought a poorly conceived Planned Development at the intersection of highways 83 and 86 that put the historic rural character of Franktown at grave risk.  Inconsistencies and imprecision in the CMP 2035 opened the door to potentially flawed rezoning decisions.  It is time to strengthen and clarify protection of rural communities.

Adequate infrastructure must be in place in advance or concurrent with growth and development.   Our roads and highways are stressed.  The result is congested traffic and more accidents.  Our schools are overcrowded and in some case rely on trailers as classrooms.  There are no plans or allotted funding to address a Douglas County infrastructure that is already woefully inadequate for the current population and development.   

Sustainable water plans are crucial for every growth or development plan. Water is the ultimate constraint on Douglas County and Colorado growth. We have been operating under the assumption since 1969 that our aquifers will last 100 years (Water Rights Determination and Administration Act of 1969), but after 49 years many studies suggest aquifer life is substantially less than that. The 1969 water analysis has not been updated.  Maintaining our Water supply and our future viability are not based on current science and technology but outdated planning.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:

Based on the above four principles, we will request that the CMP 2040 include the following specific objectives.

First, Douglas County growth and development should be limited to 1% annually of existing residential structures.  Strengthen checks and balances on development and rezoning.

Second, affirm, strengthen and clarify the CMP section 4 that protects and preserves Douglas County's rural communities of Franktown, Louviers and Sedalia.  This includes maintaining rural character by no rezoning, limited density and denial of encroachment and annexation.

Third, to ensure adequate infrastructure, any proposed growth or development must include an enforceable plan that includes resources for the necessary infrastructure before or concurrent with construction.

Finally, Douglas County needs to engage professional hydrologists to study and advise the county on water issues that threaten the long-term stability of residents.  Douglas County desperately needs a comprehensive water plan that addresses the glaring county-wide water issues not being adequately addressed by state regulators.  We need a water plan and a dedicated approach that acknowledges the cross-county, state-wide and even regional challenges of safeguarding our most limiting and valuable resource….water.

We the undersigned, Douglas County residents, voters, Coloradans and concerned citizens believe the above stated positions reflect our concerns and desires for Douglas County and Colorado.  We implore our elected representatives and government officials to demonstrate stewardship and prudent judgment in the revision of CMP 2040 to protect our desires and interests.

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