Jeffco debates over inclusivity and smart growth in draft of strategic plan

County says plan will guide next five years of ops

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/21/21

A lot can happen in five years, as anyone who has been in Jeffco for the last five knows all too well. But that’s how far Jeffco’s leaders are trying to look to the future as they work to craft …

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Jeffco debates over inclusivity and smart growth in draft of strategic plan

County says plan will guide next five years of ops

Posted

A lot can happen in five years, as anyone who has been in Jeffco for the last five knows all too well.

But that’s how far Jeffco’s leaders are trying to look to the future as they work to craft the strategic plan that will guide county government activities and resource allocation for the next five years.

“When we talk about a strategic plan we talk about it answering three questions,” said Julia Novak, a strategic planning consultant. “What do we know today? What do we hope for the future? And then how are we going to get there?”

On April 15, Novak lead the first of two scheduled community meetings at which she debuted the draft of the plan and sought input from county residents.

That plan consists of an overarching vision statement, followed by a list of strategic outcomes, further defined with what she called a definitional or directional statement.

Novak said once the plan is finalized the county will develop steps that it can take to make those outcomes happen.

“Part of that is aligning the things the county already does that contribute to success in these areas and then perhaps there is new things, new capital projects, new open space acquisitions and those types of things that become the to-dos that contribute to the outcome.”

What they’re talking about

The draft strategic plan presented at the meeting included the following elements:

Proposed vision: To be a county government that provides equitable, innovative, efficient and quality service to a thriving and safe community.

Proposed strategic outcomes and definitional statements.

Create safe, healthy and thriving communities: Jeffco communities are diverse active and healthy. People experience a high quality of life and feel safe in their neighborhoods and environments.

Enhance inclusive community engagement: Jeffco recognizes, supports and enhances diversity in all forms and uses inclusive approaches to engage communities around issues that matter to them.

Ensure responsible growth and development: Jeffco supports balanced growth that enhances quality of life, is affordable for those who live, work and play here and aligns with the counties long range planning efforts.

Improve public infrastructure and protect natural resources: Jeffco values environmental stewardship and infrastructure resiliency and works to mitigate natural hazards and ensure ease of movement.

Operate as an Employer of Choice: Jeffco attracts, engages, develops and retains a highly motivated, caring and skilled workforce.

Provide innovative, equitable and effective service: Jeffco incorporates new approaches and best practices to continuously approve its responsive and client-centric service delivery.

Residents respond

Jeffco resident Marcia Brenowitz said she was glad to see the word “safe” included in it because she has noticed more crime in her area recently, including break-ins and car and mail theft.

“I never worried about being home in the evening and now I do and I am sorry that I do have to because it was wonderful for the decades it wasn’t a concern,” Brenowitz said.

The proposed strategic outcome that seemed to generate the most discussion was about diversity and inclusivity.

“I’d like to see that statement about inclusive approaches be even stronger,” said Debra Bogar.

Commenter John Hermanus questioned whether inclusiveness includes affordable housing and how the county would balance goals.

“Example: Stricter zoning and building codes, sustainability and open space can increase costs to build desired housing. Density of zoning restrictions can increase costs for rental units.”

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