After getting an earful from Star Valley residents over ATV trails at the last general plan meeting, Wednesday’s meeting went relatively smoothly.
Few residents raised concerns over the draft, which will help define growth and development of the small town for the next 10 to 20 years.
The only major area of controversy related to commercial and industrial growth.
The original draft, issued in March 2008, called for commercial growth along Highway 260. This growth extended well beyond the current center of town to the Diamond Point Shadows area. Some residents at the meeting worried businesses could one day be built across the street from their homes.
A map in the original draft even outlined how growth would look in this area, with commercial near the highway, industrial behind it and very low residential behind that.
The initial thinking behind placing growth there was that it would capture business from the highway and not intrude on residential areas.
However, the committee agreed it did not want to specifically state where growth should occur in the future. Instead, they decided to limit commercial growth to Star Valley’s “valley” area, where businesses are already located.
Mayor Bill Rappaport said most people move to Star Valley to get away from big stores and traffic.
“Most of us moved here to be left alone,” he said. “I like it the way it is.”
Peter Armenta, community development director with Central Arizona Association of Governments, said the committee should be careful not to remove all mention of commercial growth because one day the town may want and need more businesses to sustain itself.
While the committee may be happy with the town today, in a few years this could change.
Besides commercial growth, Armenta asked the committee to keep this in mind when it decides where and if it wants to have a park or amphitheater.
The plan’s draft originally called for putting a park south of Highway 260. The committee decided to eliminate any mention of where a park should be and instead leave it open so a future committee could decide.
This decision mirrors the commission’s view on placing ATV trails around town.
While the original draft suggested putting trails directly through The Knolls subdivision, the new draft removes any mention of a specific location for the trails.
Only a few items in the plan were outlined to a specific location. Some of the items are municipal facilities like a town hall and public schools. The plan calls for placing town hall near the center of town, along Highway 260, and public schools south of Highway 260 in a “feasible location.”
Armenta said he would take changes made by the committee Wednesday night and work them into the final draft. He would then e-mail it back to the committee for review. After the committee has made all changes, it will be available for public review. The next meeting has not been scheduled.
The general plan draft was first released in March 2008. It was supposed to be completed a year ago, but completion of the plan was put on hold until the hydrology firm LFR, Inc. finished a water study.
In April, LFR released study results and the Water and Sewer Commission rewrote the water and growth chapters.
Besides water, the general plan covers multiple areas of town development, such as land, and zoning for the next 20 years. It outlines current town conditions, guiding principles and future use.
While Star Valley is not required to complete a general plan because it has less than 2,500 residents, Armenta estimated that by the next census in 2010, the population would be more than 2,500.
“Doing the general plan now is heading off the state. It allows the community time to figure out where you want to go, even if it is staying the same,” he said.