Initial planning begins for La Posta development

City of Durango and La Plata County officials are resurrecting an effort to plan development in the La Posta area on the outskirts of Durango city limits.

More than 30 La Posta-area landowners attended a meeting Thursday night to hear how the process will unfold in the coming months.

“Water is key to making anything happen out there,” said Greg Hoch, the city’s planning director.

The city now knows it is financially feasible to provide the resources and other infrastructure in the area, he said. Assessing costs was determined after a few major La Posta-area landowners recently funded a county-contracted consultant to determine financial feasibility of the annexation and development.

The meeting was broad and introductory in explaining the process to come. Residents who attended were asked to place concerns and hopes for future development anonymously on cards for planning officials.

One card said a property owner wanted the area developed aesthetically. Another requested both commercial and industrial zoning. And others called for cooperation between city and county officials.

Still another card said the resident’s biggest hope was that “my home will continue to be a livable place.”

The comments will be added to others collected during earlier planning attempts. In the coming weeks, officials will develop three possible alternative plans.

Another public hearing could be held within the next two months. The hearing would be to present the proposed alternatives for the plan, for zoning and for development and eventual annexation into Durango, said Eliot Hoyt, project manager for the plan and principal owner of the DesignWorkshop consulting firm.

Despite recent planning struggles, and a slow economy, county commissioner Bobby Lieb said the environment is advantageous for planning efforts.

“If you wait until a recovery, then you are rushing and you make mistakes,” he said.

La Posta tracts, though not necessarily in high demand now, will be one day soon, he said. The county, he said, has few places for industry to develop and grow, and some of the La Posta parcels are large enough to accommodate a major industrial or commercial company.

“If we’re committed to creating economic development, (this plan) is necessary,” Lieb said. He added the process ahead is “everybody’s chance to say what they’d like to see.”

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