Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
March 7 – 13, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus
Divided Legislature Helps Poor Colorado Families Avoid Fiscal Cliff
- Lawmakers in Colorado took a step towards softening the fiscal cliff by passing a bill to make the state’s child care assistance program more flexible. Now headed to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk, the bill expands a pilot program that allows counties to ease parents off of public assistance for child care to self-sufficiency. https://goo.gl/IHhZVP
- Long described as one of the most pressing problem by the supportive services community, the “Cliff Effect” refers to the reality that a small increase in take home wages can result in a household now earning too much for benefits but not enough to be self-sufficient. Graduated levels of support has long been discussed as a common sense solution to this issue, the Colorado legislature has put that thinking in to action.
Time to Get Noticed: Coalition for Recreational Trails Annual Achievement Awards
- The Coalition for Recreational Trails, a federation of national and regional trail-related organization, presents the Annual Achievement Awards to recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the national Recreational Trails Program. Categories include Construction and Design, Public Private Partnerships and Access to Public Lands, Community Linkage and Education and Communication to name a few. http://goo.gl/UuUXi3
- Applications are due April 4, 2016 and this award is presented to Washington DC during Great Outdoors Month in June as part of the Coalition’s effort to build.
The City Takes Blueprint Denver Back to the Drawing Board
- Blueprint Denver, the City’s master land-use and transportation plan has been the focus of much conflict. Now that very plan is about to come under scrutiny, with Denver launching an eighteen month update process in late spring to address 4 city-wide planning documents Parks and Rec’s Game Plan and two different “Denver Moves” proposals. Created in 2002 Blueprint Denver divided the entire city into “areas of change” and “areas of stability”. The notion being the majority of development would occur inside areas of change with the goal of bringing public transportation options to those areas to accommodate the increased density in areas of change. Meanwhile they would preserve the charter of existing neighborhoods. http://goo.gl/XUQz1L
- After residents sued the City for allowing a 5 story apartment in an area of stability that is primarily detached single family homes, they learned that plan had many other items like prioritizing infill development and they lost. To be certain, Denver grew faster than anyone could have foreseen in 2002 but does that completely negate all the feedback that resident’s bestowed on the City during that long involved process? Does rethinking these plans create distrust between the community and developers/City planning? This tale from the field shows the difficulty in implementing balanced land use, how the voting public will hold their representatives accountable and it begs the question of how to work in good faith with the community while appreciating that sometimes things change.