Park County: Public Input Needed For Land Use Plan Revision
Written by Andrew-Rossi on January 12, 2022
The Park County Commissioners encourage anyone invested in the future growth of the region to speak up as the county revises its two-decade-old Land Use Plan.
Park County and its communities have resisted the relentless push into the 21st Century in many ways. But as more people move to the region, the demand for land and resources will only get greater.
Now, the time has come for Park County to determine the details of its future.
Dossie Overfield, Chairperson of the Park County Commissioners, addressed the Cody Club lunch on Monday, Jan. 10. At the meeting, she discussed one of the most critical tasks facing the Commissioners and the county in 2022: Land Use Planning.
Park County will spend the new two years revising in Land Use Plan, which will determine the future of zoning and construction in Cody, Powell, Meeteetse, and every other county community for the next several years.
Overfield’s assessment of the plan was straightforward: what do you want to see near where you live in Park County?
The last time the county updated its Land Use Plan was 1998 – 22 years ago.
“The countywide vision of the 1998 LUP was ‘Maximize our Resources and Conserve our Heritage,’ according to the Park County website. “The intent of the 1998 LUP was to project future land use over the 15 years that followed the plan’s development with review and updates to the plan anticipated every five years. Unfortunately, due to budgetary and other resource constraints, the 1998 LUP has not been officially reviewed or updated since its inception.”
A lot has changed since 1998.
A rise in population has led to a lack of affordable housing for necessary workers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overfield said that over 70 subdivisions have been proposed and scrutinized in her four years as a county commissioner. And larger, similar projects are being proposed every year.
Land use planning determines how the acreage owned by the county will be zoned – for residential, business agriculture, etc. Changing the plan could mean the farm next to your home could become a housing development or business park if its land use is revised.
In Overfield’s opinion, the most significant challenges revolve around the ongoing population growth. As more people relocate to Park County, land and resources – particularly water – will be in more demand, straining existing infrastructure and raising prices.
Every region of Park County is different, with unique considerations regarding land use. Because of this, public input is crucial to developing the most comprehensive plan for the county.
If any aspect of future growth sounds less than desirable, there will be multiple opportunities to have your say.
Clarion Associates – a national land-use consulting firm – has been hired by the county to develop the new Land Use Plan. While working with the county, the public will be asked to speak up and discuss their communities and the potential use of the surrounding landscape.
Throughout the 18-month process of creating the new plan, the Board will be soliciting comments and suggestions from the public. This will be accomplished thru surveys, public meetings, and possibly focus groups/advisory committees specific to the different planning areas around the county.
Residents from every community in Park County are encouraged to participate in the process. Project Kick-Off Meeting will be announced once the contract with Clarion Associates has been signed.
More updates on the Land Use Plan process will be published on mybighornbasin.com as information becomes available.