County Staff To Redraft Open Space Plan

This evening in Council Chambers, from left, Open Space Specialist Craig Martin, Community Services Director Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan and Parks And Recreation Board Chairman Chris Stubben lead a discussion of the Los Alamos County Open Space Management Plan. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com 

County Councilors look over hand outs of the Open Space Management Plan. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com 

Staff Report

Los Alamos County Open Space Specialist Craig Martin a discussion this evening in Council Chambers of the Los Alamos County Open Space Management Plan together with Community Services Director Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan and Parks And Recreation Board Chairman Chris Stubben. 

After gaining a better understanding of Council’s thoughts and opinions on the direction of an Open Space Management Plan, staff will bring back a redrafted version for Council’s consideration at a future meeting. 

Martin is scheduled to retire July 30 from his position as Open Space Specialist for the County.

Council had tabled the Open Space Management Plan at its Feb. 6 Regular Meeting and at this evening’s meeting the staff was seeking the Council’s comments and feedback on the current recommended draft of the Plan. No action was requested at this time. 

The Open Space Management Plan is a compilation of the efforts of the Open Space Advisory Committee (formed at the request of County Council in 2001), the current Open Space Advisory Subcommittee of the Parks and Recreation Board, and the County’s Open Space Specialist. The plan is a framework for management of County-owned open space, which requires attention and maintenance if it is to remain an aspect of quality of life in Los Alamos.

The draft plan defines open space; designates its location; addresses what it offers to residents; and then provides goals and objectives that are detailed, measurable, and achievable.

The plan identifies key features of open space that enhance the desirability of Los Alamos as a place to live or visit, and outlines methods to protect those features.  Approval and adoption of the plan would demonstrate the County’s commitment to maintaining this aspect of quality of life in Los Alamos, which provides the backdrop to residents’ daily lives, attracts new residents; and expands the economic base of the County as an outdoor adventure destination for visitors.

The features identified by the draft plan include:

  • Vistas and viewpoints
  • Natural resources
  • Cultural and historical resources
  • Trails and open space as trail corridors
  • “Neighborhood open space”
 
To manage these features and promote Los Alamos as an outdoor recreation destination that stimulates economic development, the draft plan proposes the following key actions:
  • Consolidate public lands currently used as open space into a specifically identified Los Alamos Open Space System under the existing P-L (W-1) zoning overlay. This aligns with the Draft Land Use Map developed as a part of the Comprehensive Plan Update.
  • Find acceptable methods for protecting mountain and canyon vistas   
  •  Continue active management of natural and cultural resources by reducing wildland fire fuels, controlling invasive species, addressing runoff from burned and urbanized  areas, addressing County service roads and construction projects, promoting restoration projects and other land management strategies
  • Enhance the County Trail Network to appeal to a broader range of trail users and to encourage new business opportunities that are focused on open space and trails.
  • Acknowledge the uniqueness of Los Alamos’ offering of natural landscapes within neighborhoods with outdoor recreation opportunities are only a few minutes’ walk from nearly every home in the community.
 
Creating and labeling the Los Alamos Open Space System on maps and actively promoting 64 miles of trails winding through more than 4,000 acres illustrates that the County is a community with much outdoor recreation potential. The clear commitment will help attract additional businesses to the community, such as guide services, shuttle services, mountain bike tours, mountain bike terrain parks, equipment rentals, and additional food and beverage services.
 
Many of the specific objectives of the plan are ongoing activities of County staff. The plan provides continuity to open space management for the next two decades. The changes in zoning designations recommended in the plan should be implemented parallel to the comprehensive plan update timeline.
 
The Open Space Management Plan was fully vetted by the Open Space Subcommittee of the Parks and Recreation Board (PRB) and was also presented to the PRB in November and recommended for approval in February, and presented to Council initially in February 2015.
 
The plan also was presented at two public meetings with a combined attendance of about 95 residents. Leaders of three local outdoor groups discussed the plan with staff. The Planning and Zoning Commission received a presentation on the plan. Local media covered the plan in three articles, and the plan was the subject of several discussions on social media.
 
The plan generated 22 supportive comments and many “support this statement” hits on Open Forum. The open space specialist has received 27 emails in support of the plan.  
  

 

 
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