Panel approves update to Littleton’s comprehensive plan

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Lack of specificity criticized, but board members say that’s by design

By Ramsey Scott

Littleton is a step closer to updating the documents that will guide development in the city for years to come. 

The city’s Planning Board unanimously approved a new comprehensive plan Nov. 25 after delaying the vote for several weeks to allow for more public input. 

The city’s comprehensive plan was created in 1981 and updated in 2000. The latest version lays out four goals and three areas the city wants to highlight, including an increased focus on the South Platte River, creating more areas for an active population, and using the new plan as a guide to future land-use decisions. 

Many of the comments Littleton received during the creation of the new comprehensive plan, and in the public hearing before the vote Nov. 25, focused on the plan’s lack of specificity. The absence of specific guidelines could allow unwanted development in the city’s neighborhoods, some said. 

Several people during the hearing asked that the plan’s name be changed to a “goals and vision statement,” but a motion by the board to change the name failed on a 3-3 vote.  

The lack of specificity is intentional, said the city’s head of community development, Glen Van Nimwegen. While the plan lays out goals and visions for the entire city, it leaves the nuts and bolts of development to individual neighborhood and commercial corridor plans.

In the new comprehensive plan, there’s a placeholder for the neighborhood plans. Those plans, like the ones that will guide development downtown and along South Santa Fe Drive, are also due for an update. Many were last updated around 2000, and Van Nimwegen said those plans would be next after the comprehensive plan had been finalized by City Council. 

“I think our goal, in my mind, is we start on the new plans immediately. For the most part, they’re very good at  protecting residential areas, and that hasn’t changed,” Van Nimwegen said. “There’s some outdated ideas that are in the plan from 30 years ago that have long since been abandoned.”

The comprehensive plan now goes before the City Council for a public hearing and vote. The city has yet to set a date for the hearing. 

Littleton is still accepting feedback on the new plan, and it’s available for review on the city’s website. To submit feedback, visit inspirelitteleton.org, send an e-mail to the Planning Board at cdds@littletongov.org, or mail comments to Comprehensive Plan Comments, c/o Community Development Department, City of Littleton,  2255 W. Berry Ave., Littleton, CO 80120.


Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.