20 Mar Addressing Community Concerns with Draft Master Plan
The North Fork community has been clear and consistent in its desires throughout the Master Plan Revision process. Our priorities have been prioritizing the health, safety, and welfare of the community over commercial and industrial development, prioritizing the clean air, water, and soils that make Delta County the unique and beautiful place it is, and a strong position from the County stating that oil and gas development in our watershed is unacceptable and inappropriate.
While several members of the Planning Commission have stated that they believe that the Upper North Fork is adequately represented on the commission, that is not reflected in the draft Master Plan. Prior to the special meeting on April 23rd, Upper North Fork residents submitted a substantial majority of the nearly 100 comments submitted to the planning commission. Those comments almost exclusively focused on the following issues:
- Prioritizing health, safety, and welfare of residents over commercial and industrial development;
- Prioritizing the clean air, water, and soils of Delta County and the North Fork in particular;
- Taking a strong position that oil and gas development in our watershed is unacceptable and inappropriate.
Of the nearly 100 total comments submitted, there was not a single one in opposition to these positions.
While the Planning Commission did propose some changes to the Master Plan at the special meeting on April 23rd, the changes did not reflect that the overwhelming majority of commenters demanded prioritization. For instance, the Planning Commission added new language requiring consideration of health, safety, and welfare of residents as well as potential impacts on agriculture and other economic sectors when weighing oil and gas developments, but that does not reflect the needs of the community.
This Master Plan is supposed to be about managing future growth for Delta County. The single biggest threat to our community that depends on clean, air, water and food, and which is what attracts people to the North Fork and Delta County, is the prospect of 1200 oil and gas wells in our watershed and around our homes, farms, ranches, trails, and wildlife habitat. The proposed Master Plan does not address that growth potential or how to manage it. Our solution: prioritize public health, safety, and welfare, prioritize protection of clean air, water, and food, and oppose industrial oil and gas development in our watershed. With that as policy guidance, the Planning Commission can punt the harder questions of implementation to a working group.