More than 10 years after Breckenridge City Council adopted the Sustainable Breck Plan, officials are seeking an update that will dedicate nearly $200,000 to gathering community feedback and developing solutions to environmental problems.
City staff presented plans to update Sustainable Breck at the city council meeting on Tuesday, February 22. Jessie Burley, sustainability and parking manager, said the update is a long time coming because everything has changed in the city since 2011.
“(Breckenridge) is criticized,” she said in an interview on Thursday, February 24. “There are a lot of people in town. We have very acute housing problems. We have been through a global pandemic.
The plan, which aimed to make Breckenridge a leader in sustainability, was originally developed as it emerged from the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, and approved in 2011. The plan covered 10 areas of interest: local economy, water, housing, resource conservation, transportation, forest health, land use, recreation and open spaces, wildlife and childcare.
Through this plan, the city was able to charge for disposable bags and create a reusable bag program. The city has also invested in affordable zero-energy housing projects, electric vehicle charging stations, two electric buses and child care cost assistance programs. In 2017, the city set itself the goal of using 100% renewable energy.
Burley said the city hopes to reflect all of those changes in the updated plan while addressing issues that have developed over the past 10 years. For example, the city has expressed a commitment to social equity in recent years, but that wasn’t part of the original plan, Burley said.
“We really want to see if it makes sense to keep some of those categories, or whether or not we need to refocus on different areas,” Burley said.
On Tuesday, the city council approved an increase in the project’s budget. Originally, the city planned to spend $50,000 to update Sustainable Breck. After receiving proposals from various consultants, Burley said city officials realized the update would require more funding. The board ultimately approved a budget of nearly $200,000 for the plan.
The money will help the city conduct a cost-benefit analysis, organize community engagement events and create a data dashboard that will be updated in real time. The dashboard will allow the community to see how well the plan has helped improve the sustainability of the community over time.
Burley said community engagement is one of the city’s top priorities as it seeks to update Sustainable Breck. These efforts will include meetings with community members through workshops and focus groups as well as surveys to gather feedback. The city plans to release the dates for these meetings in the coming weeks.
“We didn’t come back and hit the community base really in its entirety,” Burley said. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
Members of City Council expressed their approval of Sustainable Breck’s update plans. Council member Carol Saade encouraged Burley and other city staff to join the Five-Year Housing Master Plan, a plan to invest $50 million in 970 workforce housing units work, in the update.
“We are going to put 1,000 units online. How (is) this added strain on our community infrastructure… going to play into the previous 10 points,” Saade said during the meeting.
Other board members agreed with Saade and Burley that the plan should be a roadmap to sustainability in Breckenridge with more concrete strategies to address the issues.
“I want to make sure that from this we come up with a plan that (has) some teeth, rather than, ‘Look what we’ve done,'” Mayor Eric Mamula said.