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What is a Small Town?

Golden Colorado, circa 1871-1881

The Planning Commission will meet tonight at 6:30 in City Council Chambers.  This is a study session, so there will be no public comment period.  In laying out their work plan for the year, they decided that they needed to review the Golden Vision 2030 Plan.  It was compiled 7 years ago, and there’s been a lot of turnover in the population since then, so some wonder if the document still describes the community’s collective “vision.”

The 2030 plan uses highly subjective terms, and the things we said we wanted sometimes conflict.  For instance, we said we wanted “smart growth” and “affordable housing,” but we also wanted to preserve the “small town look, feel and character of Golden for today and for future residents.”  Since Golden is almost fully built-out, almost all of our smart growth and affordable housing is denser, multi-family development.  Many people feel that a “small town” look and feel is defined by single family homes and a dispersed population, so they find any new construction other than single family homes to be a departure from the small town ideal.

In a sense, the 2030 Vision Plan is like the Constitution or the Bible:  the interpretation depends on who sits on the planning commission and who sits on Council.  If you want to read it for yourself, you’ll find it on the city’s website.