By Mayor Shelby Rognstad
If ever there is a time to have a direct impact on the future of your hometown, it is now. The city of Sandpoint is in the midst of six master planning efforts that will directly impact the future livability of your community for generations to come.
After nine months of development, the Parks Master Plan is nearing completion. The final public workshops took place Jan. 15 at the Little Panida downtown and at City Hall. They presented the conceptual plan to the public and invited feedback. While these were the last scheduled public workshops for refining the plan, there will still be an opportunity to provide comments when the City Council considers the plan for adoption in March.
View the conceptual plans on our website: opentownhall.com/portals/287/Issue_7920. There, you can provide comment or suggestions on the plans. If the plan is approved by council, the next steps will be to find funding and then develop engineering plans for the specific site improvements at City Beach, downtown waterfront and the Sports Complex. Right now, there is no timeline for this process.
The Multimodal Plan has been underway since September. As many as 168 people participated in the first public survey on the city’s Opentownhall platform, which ended at the end of December. The survey assessed how people get to their destinations in Sandpoint, how easy it is to use different modes of transportation, and what the city can do to improve access and accessibility for all modes of transportation. There will be multiple opportunities for the public to weigh in on the plan during the week of Feb. 23. Updates will be posted on Engage Sandpoint and on the city’s Facebook page as the date near. Expect to see a draft plan submitted to council for approval by May.
Sandpoint’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan is also underway. The first two of seven surveys on Opentownhall have closed. Citizens provided input on jobs and economic development, public facilities, utilities and services. The survey addressing housing and neighborhoods is still open until midnight, Saturday, Jan. 18. I encourage you to log on to Engage Sandpoint, on our website or on the mobile app, to complete the survey. Your input affects how the city approaches housing affordability and how our neighborhoods will look and feel far into the future. Next week’s survey will address community character and design (Jan. 19), followed by growth and land use (Jan. 26) and natural resources (Feb. 2).
I am very grateful to all those that took time to respond to these surveys. Your input is valuable and appreciated. Some of the surveys were uncomfortably long — for that we apologize. We are doing the best we can to use these surveys to get the most information possible to make informed decisions for Sandpoint’s future.
Also under development are the City’s Water Master Plan, Stormwater Plan and Watershed Master Plan. The Water draft plan is nearing completion and will be brought to City Council for adoption in March. Consultants inventoried existing pipes, storage facilities, hydrants, treatment components and other aspects of the system to determine what improvements will be necessary to continue serving quality drinking water in perpetuity.
The Stormwater Plan is still being developed as data is collected throughout this year to determine where clear water is entering our wastewater system. This data will inform the city how to best invest in future repairs and — if we are successful — dramatically increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our wastewater treatment facility.
The Watershed Master Plan is scheduled for adoption in August. An environmental consultant is currently gathering and reviewing all available data in the area to inform the planning process. The goal of this process is to provide a framework and standards for how we go about being good stewards by preserving the land, protecting water quality, reducing fire hazards and providing for other uses like recreation and forestry in a responsible, sustainable manner.
Please join me to discuss these issues at the Mayor’s Roundtable on Friday, Jan. 17, 5:30 p.m. at City Beach Organics (117 N. First Ave.). In an effort to make the Roundtable more accessible to participants, I have moved the time to the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. so most people can attend after work.
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