Speculation is bound to lead to misinformation. There seems to be plenty of both when the topic of the La Plata County Comprehensive Plan comes up. Most common is the misperception that the effort, and the money, was wasted and the will of the citizens was disregarded. I don't believe it.
The citizens were heard. There is a lot at play when it comes to hearing from the citizens. First, you can never hear from all of them. Most of them won't speak. It is, naturally, the zealots who are eager to show up for public meetings. No one can argue that there were not plenty of public meetings on this issue. What many seem not to know is that there were different types of meetings held – intentionally.
There were meetings that attracted those leaning toward the inspirational approach to planning. They are the idealists who describe their concept of Utopia and call it a plan. Then there were other meetings that attracted more practical minded advocates of personal property rights. Neither was intended to be at the exclusion of the other. Each side, and all in between, had the opportunity to weigh in.
What people with strongly-held beliefs tend to think when things don't go their way is that somehow they were not heard, or worse, that they were ignored. I don't believe it.
Coupled with a naturally controversial, and monumental, task was a failure of staff leadership. It is not just coincidence that the County Manager and Senior Planner who were here then are not here now. Personnel matters being what they are (we can't handle the truth) we were not, and could not be, fully informed about what was happening and not happening, behind the scenes.
The County Commissioners knew They set the plan aside for a time when cooler heads could prevail and when competent trustworthy staffing was in place. That time is coming. I appreciate the efforts of Commissioner Hotter as she speaks to groups around the county, clarifying the past and the future of the Comp Plan. This is a demonstration of her leadership as she tells the full story, the whole truth. We can handle it.
Sidny Zink is a CPA and former Durango city councilor and mayor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.