Town Hall on Thursday, Sept. 3, to hear the draft vision statement for
the new master plan being written for the town and county.
By Mark Esper
A 5-page draft vision statement — the first section of a new master plan for Silverton and San Juan County — was presented to dozens of interested citizens last week, who gave instant electronic feedback that was generally positive.
The vision statement, drafted by RPI Consulting of Durango, is addresses overall infrastructure needs, land-use philosophy, and recreational and cultural amenities identified as vital to the community’s long-term future, as well as addressing economic development.
RPI partner Andrew Klotz noted the vision statement was drafted after a community open house last month in which he said some 1,000 comments citizens submitted on sticky notes were compiled.
“We’re just a sponge,” Klotz told the dozens at the Sept. 3 meeting at Town Hall unveiling the draft vision statement. “You know what you want.”
Klotz said turnout for meetings thus far has been good. He said he expects the next open house on the topic will be in late October.
Meanwhile, a 15-member working group has been assembled to continue work on the master plan, which is expected to be completed next spring.
Serving on that panel are: Ken Safranski, Fritz Klinke, Terry Rhoades, Jeremy Yanko, Mary Anne Garvin, Lisa Richardson, Chris Chambers, Jim Lindaman, Steve Fearn, John Poole, Scott Fetchenhier, Paul Zimmerman, Tiffany deKay, Rose Raab, Adam Sickmiller.
Klotz said that drafting the vision statement is the first step in a three-phase process.
“This is where we look at our community and say what we want it to be and what out aspirations are,” he said.
Next comes a draft of more specific goals and strategies.
“We’re laying the landscape to set goals,” Klotz said.
And the final part of the master plan will be the actual land-use plan — the map.
Klotz said that the comments received during the process of drafting the vision statement showed “a lot of alignment of people’s opinions, but also some polar-opposite visions. That’s the reality of living in a democracy.”
In the unveiling of the draft vision statement last week, some 45 citizens were given hand-held electronic voting machines, providing instant poll results on the various sections.
The vision statement draft portrays a Silverton that is “home for a small-town community that fosters individuality and independence while cooperating with each other and helping each other to make progress.”
The section on economic vitality emphasizes development of small businesses, including those who provide services to actual residents, not just the visitors. It also states the need to “support existing and new economic drivers” who provide higher paying jobs and ease seasonal fluctuations.
The draft vision statement asserts a need for transportation and other basic infrastructure “scaled to fit the basic needs and fiscal limits of the community.”
The statement emphasizes air and water quality, as well as viewsheds and wildlife habitat protection.
For Silverton itself, the vision statement calls for a “functional and prosperous small town that is efficient and attractive, with a vibrant downtown, a clear geographic identity and a well-preserved heritage.”
The draft vision statement foresees “mixed commercial and residential land use” downtown as well as “modest aesthetic enhancement of downtown streets.”
Regarding the scattered mining claims throughout the county, the draft envisions any residential development on those parcels to involve “clustering structures in focused growth areas and/or building them in low-visibility places, leaving visible ridgelines and other scenic resources undeveloped.”
The draft also notes that such mining claims are still open to future mining activity.
The draft vision statement foresees the development of a network of neighborhood trailheads and access points for a variety of recreational users. It also emphasizes a need to develop indoor recreation facilities.
The statement also emphasizes preservation of historic sites and structures and development of more cultural amenities.
The draft vision statement calls for securing sites and partnerships “for producing housing that is affordable for working households and retired workers,” as well as revitalizing existing housing.
The draft also emphasizes the potential of Silverton as a host for more research facilities, and the need for suitable health-care facilities.
At last week’s session, RPI Consulting also presented a compilation of the “headlines of the future” dreamed up by Silverton residents asked to see what news they’d like to see 20 years from now. Among the dream headlines of 2029:
• Eureka reincorporates;
• Town cleaned up;
• Doctor moves to town:
• Still no traffic lights;
• After epic 25-year battle, Qwest provides fiber-optic service to Silverton;
• Blair Street offers sushi bar;
• Performing arts center celebrates 15h anniversary;
• Silverton goes off the grid;
• Silverton Standard buys The New York Times.
On the Web:
The draft vision statement can be seen at