The Standard Examiner has an amusing article this morning about county officials trying to make sense of an Envision Morgan study. The study asked 700 citizens about how they wanted thier community to handle land use and development in the years ahead. This seems similar to the Community Plan process that Ogden does for its various neighborhoods.
What is really interesting is that the county planner doesn't like the results of the study. Here is a quote from county planner Grant Crowell:
“There appears to be a segment of the population not represented in Envision Morgan,” Crowell said. “People don’t like clustering and permanent preservation of open space. That’s what I’ve heard since I’ve been here.”
And yet the study says:
“Morgan residents envision significant open space conservation, with a goal of permanently protecting lands with a variety of uses and characteristics” including farms, ranches, river corridors, mountains, viewsheds, trails and recreation spaces, according to visioning documents.
Unless the 700 respondents were hand picked by Envision Morgan for their open space preserving bias, I would say that Mr. Crowell may be on shakey ground with his own community. If participation was voluntary as the Ogden process is, then the neighbors that care the most (by showing up to meetings) win the most in the process. The complaining that Mr. Crowell cites likely comes from folks who care so little about thier community that they failed to show up to any of the Envision Morgan meetings.
Ogden experienced a similar thing with the East Central Bench (Trolley District) Community Plan. The inital meeting was presented in English AND in Spanish. Unfortunately, there weren't any spanish speakers in the room that I could tell. A translator was on hand even to help. Given the 50% population of latinos in the community, it was shocking not to have a significant presence there at the meeting. Even after we broke down into smaller steering committees for regular monthly meetings, the city staff had to compel some latino stakeholders to the meetings. The meeting I attended where this was the case was very interesting. The stakeholder was quite disinterested in the meeting altogether and really didn't want to contribute to our discussions.
The bottom line is that involved citizens will always steer the community in the best direction for involved citizens. That is how democracy works. Morgan leadership would be wise to listen to their community.