By Zach Hagadone
Sandpoint City Council members unanimously approved a strategic plan at their June 15 meeting, establishing a slate of priorities to be addressed between now and 2027.
The city adopted its first one-year strategic plan in 2017, followed by a three-year plan. This will be Sandpoint’s first five-year plan, intended to provide a foundation for how City Hall will navigate the next five years across a range of categories, from housing to infrastructure to economic prosperity and more.
Organized under the five “pillars,” or “umbrella strategies,” of responsive government, resilient economy, sustainable environment, vibrant culture and livable community, the specific items in the plan presented by Roger Woodworth of consultancy group Mindset Matters include a few big-ticket items.
Under “housing diversity and growth,” the city intends to undertake a study on growth, housing supply and demand, and land use to inform affordable and workforce housing needs, while also developing and implementing a workforce housing strategy and priority plan.
In addition, the city will revise and update City Code, the land use map and associated zoning, as well as reevaluate utility service policies and growth within the area of city impact and, at some point, negotiate ACI boundaries with Bonner County and other jurisdictions.
In the area of “integrated planning,” City Hall aims to “review, update and integrate all master plans,” as well as complete a parking supply and demand study.
Woodworth noted that the strategic plan calls for a “full-fledged code review, beyond just housing,” to be concluded by 2027.
Also of note, under the “economic prosperity” heading, the city intends to complete construction of the third and final phase of the Downtown Revitalization Project, as well as build out and realign the city-owned fiber system in the downtown core with an eye toward a 50-year fiber optic infrastructure.
In concert with the parking study, City Hall will complete a study of the highest and best use for the city-owned downtown parking lot, and intends to pursue a public-private partnership with the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency to develop “a city parking structure and private development that contributes to the downtown.”
Alongside those priorities, the strategic plan also addresses a review of the comprehensive and capital improvement plans, assessments and new management plans for sewer and stormwater systems, an update of the Urban Area Transportation Plan, funding and implementation of street and sidewalk improvements, expanded public outreach, reevaluation of the city’s recreation services and parks system, and more.
“These are the strategies, not the operating plan — that comes [later],” Woodworth told the council. “But these give you clear direction and a compass as to what you would be affirming for your staff to take the lead on and then make happen over the next five years.”
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